Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quick & Easy: Queso Chicken Pasta

Talk about an easy dish to prepare and definitely can be considered a "comfort food" as well!

Serves - 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 to 30 minutes

8 oz penne pasta [used Dreamfields w/net carbs of 5g]
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 Tblspn flour
1-1/3 cup milk, 2% or higher [used skim milk]
1 tsp salt
3 Tblsp cream cheese [used reduced fat]
6 oz colby-jack cheese, divided [used Mexican style]
1/2 cup drained Ro*Tel tomatoes [used Hunt's fire-roasted]
2 cups cooked shredded chicken

1.  Heat oven to 350ºF and spray a medium casserole dish with non-stick spray.

2.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but reduce the cooking time by two minutes.

3.  In a medium pot heat the oil over medium heat.  Once it begins to shimmer add the onion, garlic and pepper.  Cook until they begin to soften, about three minutes.  Add the cumin, coriander and salt and cook for an additional two minutes, or until the spices become fragrant.

4.  Add the flour and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly, until all the flour is moist.  Gradually whisk in the milk and stir until smooth.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to thicken.

5.  Turn off the heat and add the cream cheese and 4 oz of the shredded cheese and whisk until melted.  Stir in the Ro*Tel tomatoes.

6.  Pour the pasta into the prepared casserole dish, stir in the shredded chicken and sauce.  Top with the remaining shredded cheese.

7.  Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until pasta is bubbly and the cheese has melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

From the Nutritional analysis I ran, the Nutrition Facts are as follows:
Calories - 363                           Sodium - 692mg
   Calories from Fat - 138          Total Carbs - 20g  w/net Carbs - 14.7g
Total Fat - 14.8g                            Dietary Fiber - 5.3g
   Saturated Fat - 7.4g                     Sugar - 3g
   Trans Fat - 0g                         Protein - 27.2g
Cholesterol - 91mg

Source: Pinterest -


  • Yes, you guessed it, I didn't have enough penne so used rotini.
  • By using the low-fat milk and reduced-fat cream cheese, this dish went from a rating of "high in saturated fats" to low.
  • I used a large, deep nonstick skillet and mixed the pasta and chicken in with the sauce before pouring into the casserole dish.
  • Because I was concerned this dish would be too spicy with the whole really large jalapeno I bought, I only used approximately a third of it - definitely could have used the entire jalapeno.  Of course, should I make this dish during the summer when the peppers are hotter, it may only need a half.  So guess I'll have to experiment and make this again - what a sacrifice, but oh so willing to do it!
  • My friend nor I could really taste the spices - so may increase the amount as well next time.  Don't get me wrong, this dish is still really creamy and good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pork Chops with Pear & Ginger Sauce

Oh My Goodness!!!  At the first bite, I knew this was going to be a regular!  It's also one of those times that I would have never thought to bring the assortment of ingredients together.

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 chop & sauce
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

4 4-oz boneless pork chops, 1/2" thick, trimmed
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp canola oil
3 Tblspn cider vinegar
2 Tblspn sugar [used 1 Tblspn Splenda Blend]
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 firm, ripe pear, such as Bosc or Anjou, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into eights
1 1-1/2" long piece fresh ginger, peeled & cut into thick julienne strips (1/4 cup)
6 scallions, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 inch lengths
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water

1.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pork and cook until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Pour off fat from the pan.

2.  Add vinegar and sugar to the pan; stir to dissolve the sugar.  Cook over medium-high heat until the syrup turns dark amber, 10 to 20 seconds.  Pour in wine (stand back, as the caramel may sputter) and bring to a simmer, stirring.  Add scallions and cook until the pears are tender, about 2 minutes more.  Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until lightly thickened.  Reduce heat to low and return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pan; turn to coat with the sauce.  Serve immediately.

Exchanges/Carbohydrate: 1/2 fruit  /  1/2 other carb  /  3 lean meat  /  1 fat
                                                1 Carb serving

Calories - 237                           Sodium - 286mg
Total Fat - 5g                            Total Carbs - 13g  w/net carbs - 11g
   Saturated Fat - 1g                       Dietary Fiber - 2g
   Monounsat Fat - 2g                Protein - 23g
Cholesterol - 52mg

Source:  EatingWell -


  • If you only need to prepare two pork chops, then you can decrease the cooking time to 20 minutes.
  • My vinegar and sugar did not result in a dark amber color.  It was more a light color, but once the juices from the pork were added, it turned a nice rich color.  Really though big whoop.  You just can't go wrong with this one! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Parmesan Chicken with Garlic and Herbs

Found this recipe on Pinterest - looked good so had to taste test it.  Another keeper!

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 chicken breast
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Marinate: all day
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp crushed garlic (garlic puree from a jar works well)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Combine crushed garlic, olive oil and poultry seasoning in a small pan and heat 1 minutes, until just warm.

2.  Trim all visible fat and membranes from chicken breasts, then make small crosswise slits about 1/2 inch apart down the length of teach chicken breast, being careful not to cut too far into the chicken.  (This helps the garlic and herb flavor penetrate the chicken more.)  Put chicken into a zip lock bag, pour heated oil over and marinate all day in refrigerator.

3.  When ready to cook, take chicken out of fridge and let it come to room temperature for a few minutes while you preheat the oven to 425ºF.

4.  Mix the bread crumbs and parmesan (if you want the mixture finer, you can place in a food processor and pulse a few times.)  Place mixture in a flat dish and dip each chicken breast into it, pressing on as much of the coating as you can.

5.  Place each chicken piece in a casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray or olive oil.  Bake until chicken is firm and cooked through, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.  Then put under the broiler to brown more if desired.  Actual cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts.

From the Nutritional Analysis I ran, here are the Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 361                          Sodium - 243mg
   Calories from Fat - 186         Total Carbs - 5.7g
Total Fat - 20.7g                          Sugar - 0.5g
   Saturated Fat - 4.9g                Protein - 36.2g
Cholesterol - 106mg

Source: Pinterest


  • I had just purchased Panko bread crumbs, but not whole wheat variety.  Oh well.
  • I really think you could get by with just marinating for 4-5 hours, but entirely up to you.
  • The person who tried this recipe felt that 30 minutes was too long to bake the chicken breasts.  After 25 minutes (which was recommended) these weren't quite done.  Definitely took 30 minutes.
  • The Panko bread crumbs are crunchier, but they were still soft on the bottom.  Next time I would turn the breasts so the bread crumbs on both sides are crunchy.
  • Ok, just took a look at the site where I found this recipe and realize a couple of things I didn't do: First - go ahead and make the bread crumb mixture finer.  I thought it looked good as it was.  Second - use a baking sheet instead of a casserole dish (so why does it say place in a casserole dish?)  Ugh!  No wonder my bread crumbs didn't come out nice and crunchy!  Ok now I know for next time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quick & Easy: Wholesome Cornbread

Oh, Yeah!!!  I'm a believer after having made this delicious cornbread tonight!

Servings - 9
Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

1-1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3 Tblspn sugar [used Splenda blend]
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
2 Tblspn canola oil

1.  Preheat oven 350ºF.  Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

2.  Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk egg, buttermilk and oil in a separate bowl.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

3.  Bake the cornbread until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Exchanges/Carbohydrates:  1 starch  /  1/2 vegetable  /  1 lean meat  /  1/2 medium-fat meat  /  2-1/2 fat
1-1/2 carb serving
Calories - 164                        Sodium - 287mg
Total Fat - 5g                         Total Carbs - 27g   w/net Carbs - 24g
   Saturated Fat - 1g                    Dietary Fiber - 3g
   Monounsat Fat - 2g             Protein - 5g
Cholesterol - 22mg



  • After reading the one review that comes up on the same page with the recipe, I also went with white whole-wheat flour.
  • Because I used the Splenda blend, I only used 2 Tablespoons.
  • I was happy to find a recipe that was fairly low in carbs for the serving size!
  • Definitely making this my "tried and true" recipe


With the change in weather, it just felt like a day for chili.  So as I keep experimenting with different recipes, this one is the best to date.

Serves - 6 to 7
Preparation Time: 10
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes

1 pound ground beef [used the 80/20 ground beef]
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (16 oz) Bush's Chili Beans, undrained [used the chili beans in mild sauce]
2 cups water
1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 cup ketchup [used 1 can tomato paste]
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce

1.  In a large non-stick skillet, cook beef until lightly browned.  Drain meat on paper towels to remove excess grease.  In the same skillet, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.  Add the meat to the onion and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2.  In a large pot, add the meat and the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well, simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

From the Nutrition Analysis I ran, here are the Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 221                           Sodium - 579mg
   Calories from Fat - 70            Total Carbs - 14.6g   w/net Carbs - 11.2g
Total Fat - 7.7g                             Dietary Fiber - 3.4g
   Saturated Fat - 3.1g                   Sugar - 5.6g
Cholesterol - 69mg                    Protein - 24g

Source:  Recipe on the label of the Bush's Chili Beans


  • Because of different levels of spicy/heat tolerance, I went with the mild sauce chili beans.  Bush's also has chili beans in medium and hot sauce.
  • Even with the mild sauce, I could tell it was going to be too spicy for everyone.  So I added 1 can of tomato paste which really took the spice level down - so much so that I did use the 1 teaspoon of chili powder and cayenne pepper.
  • Sorry, but I didn't grow up with celery in my chili (which the original recipe called for) so needless to say, I omitted it.
  • Even though the directions say you only need to let it simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, most cooks agree that the longer you let it simmer, the better the flavor.  I left mine on low simmer for at least 2 hours.
  • Now as for nutrition, the net carbs isn't bad at all.  But, and yes there's always a flip side, the cholesterol and sodium are high.  Again using the leanest ground beef will help decrease this.  Even better, use textured vegetable protein.  You can find this at Whole Foods and I've even seen it at Kroger.  I haven't checked Giant Eagle or Meijer, but I'm thinking they would carry it was well.  Believe me, unless you knew ahead of time that it was used in place of ground beef, you would not taste any difference.
  • Now I did see a different brand of chili beans with lower sodium, which I'll probably consider using next time.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quick & Easy: Boneless Pork Chops with Mushrooms & Thyme

Although this recipe serves two, you can easily double or triple it.  Your taste buds will love the nice change in these pork chops' flavor.  Again, as with all the other recipes that have made their way to this blog, it's a keeper!

Serves - 2  /  Serving Size - 1 pork chop & 1/2 of sauce
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

2 5-oz boneless, center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed & pounded to 1/4" thick
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4 oz)
1/2 cup dry vermouth [substituted white cooking wine]
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1.  Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.  Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Add the pork chops and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to 2 serving plates; tent with foil to keep warm.

2.  Swirl oil into the pan, add shallot and cook, stirring until soft, about 30 seconds.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to brown, about 2 minutes.  Add vermouth and cook for 15 seconds.  Stir in mustard, thyme and any juices that have accumulated from the pork; cook until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes more.  Spoon the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately.

Exchanges: 1 vegetable  /  4 medium-fat meat
Calories - 298                            Sodium - 382mg
Total Fat - 13 g                          Total Carbs - 4g
   Saturated Fat - 6g                        Dietary Fiber - 1g
   Monounsat Fat - 6g                 Protein - 26g
Cholesterol - 77mg



  • I put both chops in a large zip-lock bag and used a meat mallet to flatten them.  The tip suggested putting the chops between two sheets of plastic wrap.  Sorry, but too easy for the chop to go shooting out one side when you pound it - no matter how you try to seal the edges of the plastic wrap.
  • I cooked the chops for an additional 2-3 minutes as the juices from the chops still ran pink instead of clear.
  • I placed both chops on a serving platter so I only had the platter to tent with foil.
  • Since I didn't have vermouth, I checked online as to what substitution I could use.  White grape juice, dry white wine or as the recipe suggested unsweetened apple juice were recommended.
  • I honestly do not know how this sauce was suppose to thicken as there was no dry ingredient added to absorb the liquid.  I just continued to let the sauce simmer and reduce down.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quick & Easy: Caesar-Style Salad with Crispy Parmesan Rounds

As the recipe notes, this is simple enough for a weeknight meal while special enough for entertaining.   I decided to alter this salad similar to the one you can order at Carrabbas - their grilled shrimp caesar salad.  If you are concerned about the amount of cholesterol with the shrimp, just remember that the majority of cholesterol is the "good - HDL" that you need.

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 cup salad, 3 Tblsp croutons, 1 Parmesan round
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup 1-inch cubes whole grain baguette-style bread
Olive oil nonstick cooking spray
2 Tblspn light mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 Tblspn lemon juice
1/2 of a clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups torn romaine lettuce
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1 pound 26-32 count pre-cooked shrimp

1.  Preheat oven 300ºF.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Draw four 4-inch circles on the paper or foil, spacing circles at least 1 inch apart.  In a small bowl, combine cheese and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Divide mixture among circles, spreading evenly to edges of circles.

2.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown on the edges.  Cool on baking sheet.  Carefully remove cheese rounds from parchment paper or foil.

Meanwhile, for croutons:  Place bread cubes in a small skillet.  Lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.  Turn cubes; lightly coat again with nonstick cooking spray.  Cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted, tossing cubes occasionally.

For dressing:  In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until well mixed.  Divide romaine among salad plates.  Drizzle with dressing; top with croutons and Parmesan rounds.  If desired, sprinkle with additional pepper.

Exchanges: 1 vegetable  /  1 lean meat  /  1 fat
Calories - 96                           Sodium - 256mg
Total Fat - 6g                          Total Carbs - 7g   w/net Carbs - 5g
   Saturated Fat - 2g                     Dietary Fiber - 2g
   Monounsat Fat - 1g                  Sugar - 1g
   Polyunsat Fat - 2g                Protein - 5g
Cholesterol - 10mg

Nutrition Facts w/shrimp:

Calories - 227                           Sodium - 542mg
    Calories from Fat - 69           Total Carbs - 8.6g   w/net Carbs - 7.6g
Total Fat - 7.7g                              Dietary Fiber - 1g
   Saturated Fat - 2.9g                     Sugar - 1.8g
Cholesterol - 234mg                  Protein - 29.8g



  • Ok, I just eye-balled where the circles would be on the parchment - definitely saves time.
  • Already had cubed bread in the freezer - any bread that is past its freshness, cube and place in freezer bags.  Love having the freezer stocked with these kinds of staples.
  • I did heat the shrimp on the indoor grill for just a few minutes with a pepper seasoning.
  • This is another salad that is definitely great on a hot day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quick & Easy: Chicken, Pear and Parmesan Salad

Since today was in the low 80ºs, this was just right for dinner.  It is truly quick, very easy and a "10" on the  "make it again" list.

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 2-1/2 cup
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

2 Tblspn cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 Tblspn olive oil or canola oil
1 Tblspn honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
5 cups torn fresh spinach leaves [used Baby Fresh Field Greens]
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken breast
2 pears, cored and cut into cubes
1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved

1.  In a small screw-top jar combine vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper.  Cover and shake well.

2.  In a large salad bowl combine greens, chicken, pears, onion and cranberries.  Drizzle dressing over salad, tossing to coat evenly.  Top with cheese.

Exchanges:  1 vegetable  /  2 fruit  /  4 lean meat  /  1 fat
Calories - 306                        Sodium - 343mg
Total Fat - 11g                       Total Carbs - 26g     w/net Carbs - 22g
   Saturated Fat - 3g                    Dietary Fiber - 4g
   Monounsat Fat - 6g                 Sugar - 18g
   Polyunsat Fat - 1g               Protein - 26g
Cholesterol - 64mg



  • I had one large chicken breast that I boiled for approximately 15 minutes, drained and placed in the fridge to cool.  Once cooled, I just pulled the meat apart.  To save even more time and reduce clean-up, you could use already chopped chicken.
  • Since I didn't have a jar, I just mixed all of the salad dressing ingredients in one of my small 1-1/2 measuring cups.  I was still able to stir and mix all the ingredients without any problems.
  • To add more variety, I used the baby field greens, which also had spinach in the mix.
  • Again, to save time I used a jar of grated Parmesan - it was a better buy than the pre-shredded.
  • This is a very easy "make ahead" meal.  Just hold the dressing and Parmesan cheese until you are ready to serve.

Ginger-Orange Biscotti

Per the recipe, authentic biscotti are low in fat and easy to make (which these were).  To achieve the characteristic crisp texture, they are "twice-cooked," first as a log, then again as slices.  And as with any biscotti, these fragrant spiced ones are great dipped in a steaming cup of coffee or tea.

Makes approx: 54 biscotti
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 35-45 minutes

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup Splenda Sugar Blenda for baking [used the Splenda]
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
1 Tblspn fresh orange juice

1.  Preheat oven 325ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2.  Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar (or Splenda), cornmeal, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk eggs, egg whites, orange zest and orange juice in a large bowl until blended.  Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined.

3.  Divide the dough in half.  With dampened hands, form each piece into a 14 x 1-1/2 inch log.  Place the logs side by side on the prepared baking sheet.

4.  Bake until firm, 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool on the pan on a wire rack.  Reduce oven temperature to 300º.

5.  Slice the logs on the diagonal into cookies 1/2 inch thick.  Arrange, cut-side down, on 2 ungreased baking sheets.  Bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.  (Rotate the baking sheets if necessary to ensure even browning.)  Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool.

Exchanges: 1/2 other carb
Calories - 28                           Sodium - 35mg
Total Fat - 0g                          Total Carbs - 7g  [Total Carbs - 5g w/Splenda]
   Saturated Fat - 0g                    Dietary Fiber  - 0g
   Monounsat Fat - 0g              Protein - 1g
Cholesterol - 8mg

Source:  The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook by Joyce Hendley and the Editors of EatingWell


  • Well, me in my not uncommon style of skipping sections within a recipe, completely missed the part where after the first baking you're suppose to cool them, reduce the heat and THEN do the second baking.  Well, after the 25 minutes was up, took them out, proceeded to cut them and back into the oven at the same temp.  Oh yeah, brilliance.  It wasn't until I was checking the recipe toward the end of the second baking I found my "oops."
  • Quite honestly, these turned out great even with my "oops."  I do wonder though if cutting after the logs had cooled would have resulted in more crumbs and possible breaks, which I had neither of.
  • So now you know, at least with this recipe it is very forgiving of baker's oops.
  • As for shaping the logs, this dough is not stiff at all which explains why you have to wet your hands first before shaping.  I kept trying to get the two logs to only be 1-1/2 inches in width to no avail.  They just kept wanting to spread out.  So as soon as I could get them to stay at about 2" in width, I quickly put the sheet into the oven.
  • They do spread out while baking, so make sure that you allow enough room between the two.
     *After a few hours, I did notice that the biscotti really weren't light and crispy throughout.  So I did put them back in the oven @ 300ºF for 15-20 minutes.  Definitely made a difference.  Light and crisp throughout.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quick & Easy: Buttermilk-Smashed Red Potatoes with Scallions

Leaving the skins on the potatoes add extra fiber, as well as color.  Either way, yummy!

Makes - 4 servings
Preparation Time: 6 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes

1-1/2 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth [used homemade chicken broth]
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1.  In a heavy large saucepan, place the potatoes, broth and enough water to barely cover.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are very tender.

2.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.  Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  With a potato masher, mash until fairly smooth.

3.  With a wooden spoon, a bit at a time, beat in the buttermilk and enough of the reserved cooking water to make the potatoes moist but with a chunky texture.  Stir in the salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the scallions.

Exchanges/Choices:  2 bread  /  2 carbs
Calories - 160                          Sodium - 310mg
Total Fat - 0g                           Total Carbs - 32g  w/net carbs - 30g
Cholesterol - 0mg                         Dietary Fiber - 2g
Protein - 5g

Source:  Prevention's The Sugar Solution Cookbook by the Editors of Prevention magazine with Ann Fittante, MS, RD


  • No potato masher, no worries - just use a mallet.  It gets the job done.
  • I omitted the salt and pepper.  This way each individual can season to his/her liking.

Rosemary Dijon Chicken

Even though this recipe doesn't fall in the "quick" category, it certainly doesn't get much easier than this!

Serves - 6  /  Serving Size - 3 oz
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 2-3 hours
Cooking Time: approx. 50 minutes

1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
2 Tblspn Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar [had dark balsamic]
1 Tblspn dried rosemary leaves

1.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper (if using) and place in a 2-quart oblong baking dish.  Spread the mustard over the chicken.  Pour the vinegar over the chicken and sprinkle with the rosemary.  Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

2.  Preheat oven 350ºF.  Bake the chicken, covered for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and lightly browned.

Exchanges:  3 very lean meat
Calories - 144                          Sodium - 179mg
   Calories from Fat - 17          Total Carbs - 4g
Total Fat - 2g                              Dietary Fiber - 0g
   Saturated Fat - 0g                     Sugar - 3g
Cholesterol - 66mg                  Protein - 26g

Source: Holly Clegg's Trim & Terrific Diabetic Cooking


  • Even though I didn't have white balsamic vinegar, I really liked the coloring the dark balsamic gave the chicken.
  • After 20 minutes, go ahead and check the chicken.  Mine still had another 15 minutes when I decided to check and it's a good thing I did.  Even the thickest piece was already done.
  • The comment with this recipe says "these few ingredients infuse the chicken with such tremendous flavor, you'll find yourself making this recipe again and again."  My taste buds agree!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Salmon Roasted with Tomatoes & Olives

Talk about a completely different, and oh so good taste!

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 fillet
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes

2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, stem ends trimmed, cut into thin wedges
1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
2 strips orange zest, cut into thin slivers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tblspn extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 Tblspn chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1-1/4 pounds salmon fillet (about 1-1/2" thick), skin removed cut into 4 portions

1.  Preheat oven 400ºF.  Combine tomatoes, onion, orange zest and garlic in a large roasting pan or on a large baking sheet with sides.  Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.

2.  Roast, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes and onion are tender and beginning to brown on the edges, about 45 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven.  Increase oven temperature to 450º.

3.  Add olives and rosemary to the pan; season with salt and pepper.  Clear four spaces in the pan and place a salmon pieces in each.  Spoon some of the tomato mixture on top.

4.  Roast until the salmon is opaque in the center, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Exchanges:  2 vegetable  /  5 lean meat  /  1 fat (mono)
Calories - 372                                  Sodium - 585mg
Total Fat - 20g                                 Total Carbs - 14g
   Saturated Fat - 3g                              Dietary Fiber - 3g
   Monounsat Fat - 6g                       Protein - 34g
Cholesterol - 90mg

Source:  The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook by Joyce Hendley and The Editors of EatingWell


  • Ok, so this recipe was another example of "using what I had" - grape tomatoes and dried rosemary.  Maybe next time I'll have kalamata olives to put in.
  • Instead of just 2 strips of orange zest, I probably added a total of 4 strips and it was still just enough, not overpowering at all.
  • Since the weather cooperated today (hard to believe 70s in March), we grilled the salmon outside. This flavor combination is still a winner either way you choose to cook it.

Chocolate-Fudge Pudding Cake

For those times you just crave a chocolate dessert!  Yes, this cake really does form its own rich-tasting sauce as it bakes.

Serves - 8  /  Serving Size - approx. 1/2 cup each
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar or 3 tablespoons Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted [used Dutch-processed]
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup 1% milk [used buttermilk - for an even moister cake]
2 Tblspn canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
1-1/3 cups hot brewed coffee
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar or Splenda Granular [used Splenda brown sugar blend]
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

1.  Preheat oven 350ºF.  Coat a 1-1/2 to 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar (or Splenda Sugar Blend), cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk egg, milk, oil and vanilla in a glass measuring cup.  Add to the flour mixture; stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips, if using.  Scrap the batter into the prepared baking dish.  Mix hot coffee and brown sugar (or Splenda Granular) in the measuring cup and pour over the batter.  Sprinkle with nuts.  (It may look strange at this point, but don't worry.  During baking, cake forms on top with sauce underneath.)

2.  Bake the pudding cake until the top springs back when touched lightly, 30 to 35 minutes.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes.  Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve hot or warm.

Exchanges:  2-1/2 other carb  /  1 fat
Calories - 220                         Sodium - 237mg
Total Fat - 7g                          Total Carbs - 38g
   Saturated Fat - 1g                     Dietary Fiber - 2g
   Monounsat Fat - 3g              Protein - 4g
Cholesterol - 27mg

Source:  The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook by Joyce Hendley and The Editors of EatingWell


  • As strange as it sounds and looks, pouring 1-1/3 cups of coffee over this batter, really does turn into a very thick sauce.  And just as the recipe stated, you really don't taste the coffee.
  • For added nutrition, I added 1 teaspoon of wheat germ.
  • Due to some dietary restrictions for a few days, I refrained from adding the nuts.  Next time definitely.
  • Even though the confectioner's sugar would give this dessert a beautiful presentation, it's really not necessary.  This cake is rich all by itself without adding more sugar.
  • If you want to enjoy the decadent smell of chocolate throughout the house, look no further.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Roasted Pork Loin with Orange and Thyme

Want a change of pace in preparing a pork roast?  The orange zest does it!

Serves - 4
Preparation Time: 6 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 center-cut boneless pork-loin roast (1 pound), well-trimmed
orange wedges or slices

1.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Line a 9" x 9" baking pan with foil and coat the foil with olive oil cooking spray.

2.  On a cutting board, combine the garlic, orange zest, thyme, salt, black pepper, and red-pepper flakes.  Chop together until the garlic is finely minced and the ingredients are well blended.  Rub all over the pork.

3.  Place the pork in the prepared pan.  Roast for 50-60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 155ºF.

4.  Remove the pork from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before carving into thin slices.  Serve with orange wedges or slices as a garnish.

Exchanges/Choices:  3-1/2 meat  /  1 fat  /  0 choices
Calories - 170                           Sodium - 370mg
   Calories from Fat - 96            Total Carbs - 1g
Total Fat - 7g                                 Dietary Fiber - 0g
   Saturated Fat - 3g                       Sugar - 0g
Cholesterol - 70mg                     Protein - 25g

Source:  Prevention's The Sugar Solution Cookbook by the Editors of Prevention Magazine and Ann Fittante, MS, RD


  • Ok, this is the second time I've fixed a pork roast and gone by the recipe's directions for cook time.  I honestly am baffled as to how a roast is suppose to be done in only 50 minutes and an internal temp of only 155º?  I mean my meat thermometer states for pork it needs to be 170ºF.  And as for cook time, I remember at least 1 hour, if not closer to 2 hours.  So needless to say, use 50 minutes as a starting point.
  • To make this a meal in one dish, I cut red potatoes in half and added them at the same time I put the roast in the oven and then 15-20 minutes before the roast was done, added mushrooms.  Who doesn't love easy cooking and clean up?


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

This recipe I found on Pinterest and it is awesome!!!  Even though Dreamfields pasta does not make jumbo shells, the San Giorgrio shells are only 40 net carbs if you have 7 shells.  Believe me, these gems are extremely filling so no fear of going over on your carbs with this meal.

Serves - 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
4 oz cream cheese, softened [used low-fat]
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought) [used Pesto w/basil & garlic]
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced [skipped since minced garlic was in the pesto sauce]
salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package.  Cook pasta shells only until al dente (approx. 5 minutes).  The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked.  Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping.  Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

3. Preheat oven 350ºF and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

The results from the Nutrition Analysis I ran for 1 serving (4 shells):
Calories - 462                             Sodium - 697mg
   Calories from Fat - 146           Total Carbs - 35.3g
Total Fat - 16.2                               Dietary Fiber - 2g
   Saturated Fat - 6.3g                      Sugar - 1.1g
   Trans Fat - 0g                          Protein - 41.8g
Cholesterol - 126mg

Source: Pinterest -

  • I used chicken that was cut for chicken tenders, but 1 large chicken breast would also work.  Boiled the chicken for 15 minutes making sure there was no pink, drained and rinsed in cool water making it easier to then handle and shred.
  • When I showed my friend this recipe, her first comment was to make sure and add some water to the bottom of the dish otherwise the shells would end up dry and tough.  She was right.  Since you only cook the pasta until al dente, the shells were definitely firm to slightly hard.  Since there isn't much liquid in the rest of the ingredients, I'm not sure how the shells would have softened.
  • So my modification to this recipe is to add about 2-3 tablespoons of water in the dish after you've finished putting in the stuffed shells.
  • I went ahead and doubled the recipe, putting one casserole dish in the freezer.  This was just one of those recipes that I knew would be good.  Already had all the ingredients, so why not take a few extra minutes and put together one for a future dinner?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Roasted Garlic Orange Roughy

Ok, you know me, use what I have - so tried this recipe with cod.  Results - definite keeper!  Oh, and that 40 minute prep time, the garlic is doing all the work (roasting), not you.

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 fillet
Preparation Time:  40 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Cooking spray
Garlic head (the entire bulb)
1-1/2 tsp olive oil (reserve 1 tsp)
4 4-oz orange rough fillets
Dash paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (optional)

1.  Preheat oven 375ºF.  Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  Cut the top off a whole head of garlic.  Place cut side up on a medium piece of foil.  Drizzle 1/2 tsp olive oil on the garlic head.  Fold foil up on all sides; seal.  Bake on the oven rack for 40 minutes.  [Roasting the cloves in the casing ensures maximum flavor!]

3.  Remove garlic from foil and squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of husk into a small bowl.  Add 1 tsp olive oil and blend well.

4.  Place fish on baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Spread roasted garlic evenly over each fillet.  Sprinkle each fillet evenly with Parmesan cheese and season with paprika, pepper and salt (optional).

5.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Exchanges/Choices:  1 vegetable  /  4 lean meat
Calories - 190                        Sodium - 130mg
   Calories from Fat - 45         Total Carbs - 5g   w/net carbs - 5g
Total Fat - 5g                             Dietary Fiber - 0g
   Saturated Fat - 1.4g                 Sugar - 0g
   Trans Fat - 0g                       Protein - 30g
Cholesterol - 100mg

Source: The Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook by Chef Jennifer Bucko, MCFE & Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE


  • I think you could use cod, whitefish, snapper and yes, even orange roughy with this recipe.
  • First time roasting garlic.  Talk about easy, as well as a fragrant aroma throughout the house (that is, as long as you like garlic).  And as for removing the cloves, it is as easy as the recipe says - you just squeeze the bulb and out they come.
  • Ok, I mixed the parmesan cheese, paprika, pepper and a very small amount of salt together.  It's all going on the fish so why not make it easier?
  • Because my fish was still partially frozen, it took about 10 minutes longer in the cooking time.
  • As for the potatoes:  I placed the cut halves on foil, drizzled a little olive oil, rosemary, dill & coarse salt on them.  Sealed the foil, put them in the oven the same time I put the garlic in and voilà, they were ready the same time the fish was done.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Spread

Now who said pancakes were just for breakfast?  This was pretty tasty for dinner!

Makes 12 to 14 pancakes, 1/2 cup maple cream cheese spread
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

3 oz Neufchâtel cheese, at room temperature
2 Tblspn maple syrup + add'l for serving
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup walnuts, halved [used finely chopped as this is what I had in the freezer]
1 cup shredded carrot
1-1/2 cups whole grain pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups soymilk [used regular milk]
1/3 cup packed brown sugar [used Splenda brown sugar]
3 egg whites
2 Tblspn canola oil

To Make The Spread:
In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients until blended.  Set aside

To Make The Pancakes:
1.  Preheat oven to 300º.  Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast just until fragrant, 5 minutes or longer.  Chop the nuts and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, place the carrot in a small microwaveable bowl.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on high power for 1 minutes, or until just tender.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together the whole grain flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and walnuts until blended.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Add the milk sugar, egg whites and oil and whisk the ingredients together until blended.  Add the cooled carrot and stir just until blended.

4.  Preheat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray.  Ladle 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook for 2 minutes, or until bubbles form on the surface.  Flip with a spatula and cook for 1 minute longer, or until cooked through.  (Keep warm in the preheated oven, if needed.)  To serve, spoon a rounded teaspoon of the maple cream cheese spread on each pancake and drizzle with additional maple syrup, if you wish.

Exchanges/Choices:  2 bread  /  1 meat  /  1 fat  /  2 carbs
Calories - 171                                     Sodium - 180mg
   Calories from Fat - 57                    Total Carbs - 25g    w/net carbs - 23g
Total Fat - 7g                                         Dietary Fiber - 2g
   Saturated Fat - 1g                                Sugar - 8g
Cholesterol - 5mg                               Protein - 5g

Source: Prevention's The Sugar Solution Cookbook by the Editors of Prevention magazine with Ann Fittante, MS, RD


  • I also added 2 tablespoons of wheat germ which is high in protein, potassium, iron, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, magnesium and vitamins A, B1 and B3 (both B vitamins help maintain energy levels, healthy muscles, organs, hair and skin.)
  • Ok, so as you can see I did not use a 1/4 cup measure for the batter.  Big mistake!  Since these babies are packed with great stuff, they are dense but not doughy when you cook them.
  • Next time going to try using buttermilk for even more moisture.
  • Didn't have any Neufchâtel cheese, so just used Log Cabin's Sugar-Free maple syrup.  I'm sure that the cream cheese spread would have been really great, but since I was making this for only two people didn't want give in to temptation of using the entire spread.
  • Definitely tasty, but again make them small.  One pancake was enough for me.

Quick & Easy: Seared Herbed Chicken Breast

Ok, this dish makes me feel like I'm cooking like a "real chef."  Just call me an ameuter chef geek.

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 chicken breast
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tblspn herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tblspn + 2 tsp olive oil, preferably extra virgin

1.  Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Make several deep, diagonal cuts into the smoother, rounder side of each chicken breast.  In a small bowl, combine the garlic, herbes de Provence, salt and 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Brush mixture on chicken.

2.  Place an ovenproof skillet over high heat.  Pour in the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and add the chicken, cut side down.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Uncover, flip chicken, and slide skillet into preheated oven.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until no longer pink and the juices run clear.  Cut chicken diagonally into slices or serve whole.

Exchanges/Choices:  6 meat  /  2 fat  /  0 carb
Calories - 274                           Sodium - 257mg
Total Fat - 11g                          Total Carbs - 1g
   Saturated Fat - 2g                       Dietary Fiber - 0g
Cholesterol - 98mg                     Protein - 39g

Source: Prevention Diabetes Diet Cookbook by the Editors of America's Leading Healthy Lifestyle Magazine with Ann Fittante, MS, RD


  • I've always served the whole piece, but there usually is just a little too much for one person.  Next time, I will go ahead and cut into pieces. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Korean Marinated Beef

Tired of preparing flank/round steak the same way?  Then you're in for a treat!

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 4 to 5 slices
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Marinate: 3 hrs or overnight
Cooking Time: 12 to 15 minutes

1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup water
2 Tblspn sesame oil
4 scallions, sliced
1 Tblspn sesame seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
One 1-pound flank steak (aka round steak or *london broil)

* I had some confusion as to london broil so I checked and found out that this is actually a way that flank/round steak can be cooked.  So even though now you may actually find steak labeled london broil, remember it is still flank or round steak.

1.  In a large resealable plastic storage bag, combine all the ingredients except the steak; mix well.

2.  Score the steak on both sides by making shallow diagonal cuts 1" apart.  Place the steak in the bag, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

3.  Remove the steak from the bag, discarding the marinade.  Heat a large skillet over high heat and cook the steak for 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until desired doneness beyond that.  Thinly slice and serve.

Exchanges:  1/2 carb  /  3 lean meat
Calories - 217                       Sodium - 470mg
   Calories from Fat - 98       Total Carbs - 6g   w/net carbs - 6g
Total Fat - 11g                          Dietary Fiber - 0.0g
   Saturated Fat - 4g                   Sugar - 6g
Cholesterol - 54mg                Protein - 22g

Source:  Mr. Food Every Day's a Holiday Diabetic Cookbook By Art Ginsburg


  • After mixing up the ingredients for the marinade, it looked and smelled so good.  I had a hard time discarding it, even though the directions said to.  I mean here was this great liquid with all these beautiful ingredients.  I asked a friend just to confirm what I suspensioned as the reason for discarding [due to the marinade soaking up the raw meat juice and fat].  So next time, after making the marinade, I will divide it up.  Most will be used to marinade the meat and the other part I will place in a saucepan, heat and use as a sauce to accompany the meat.