Friday, June 29, 2007

Lemony Grilled Salmon

Prep: 10 minutes plus marinating
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skin removed
8 lemon slices (3/4-in thick)

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Pour 2/3 cup sauce into a large resealable plastic bag; add salmon. Seal well and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting.

Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting grill. Arrange lemon slices on rack. Drain and discard marinade. Place each salmon fillet over two lemon slices.

Grill, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Brush with some of the reserved marinade. Grill 10-15 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with remaining marinade.

Tips and Tricks
The lemon peel can be omitted without changing the flavor too much. Omit the red pepper for tender palates.
Make It Healthier
Use low-sodium teriyaki sauce.
How Kids Can Help
Arrange lemon slices on grill before starting. Measure ingredients. Turn sealed bag to coat salmon.

Spotlight On Produce: Edamame

Recently, the more I read recipes and publications about healthy eating, the more I see edamame as a cooking option. McDonald's has even added it to one of their salads. But what is edamame, exactly?

Edamame, a Japanese word meaning "beans on branches," is more commonly known as the soybean. The soybeans are harvested at the peak of the green season and boiled in the pod. You can buy either whole edamame or shelled varieties.

My local grocery store sells an organic variety in the frozen vegetables section, and it's added a lot of options to my repertoire of healthy foods to offer my picky toddler. I steam the beans in the microwave, then sprinkle cheese on top, and he eats them up. This is a great option for us, because my son is not a big meat eater, and soy products are high in protein.

A versatile item, edamame can be added to a large number of dishes. Try tossing a handful into stirfry, or add to salads. Mash them well and add to guacamole or mashed potatoes. Add to sauces, soups, or homemade hummus. The flavor is mild, so if you have vegetable-hating kids, this is a good option for disguising in other dishes.

Have you tried edamame? What are some of your favorite ways to cook with it?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chicken Salad In Tomato Cups

Prep/Total: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 large tomatoes
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon diced pimientos
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp, leaving 1/2-in shells. Invert onto paper towels to drain. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon into tomatoes.

Tips and Tricks
Serve this chicken salad on rolls or whole wheat bread if you don't like tomatoes. My picky toddler thinks the tomato cups are fun, so he eats this salad well. Omit pimientos or pecans if desired. In place of chopped celery, I use a dash of celery salt and omit the 1/8 teaspoon salt. Try serving other salads, such as shrimp salad, in the tomato cups.
Make It Healthier
Use light mayonnaise. Omit salt. Add finely chopped green pepper or carrots for extra crunch.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Mix salad. Fill tomato cups. Older kids can scoop the pulp from the tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ranch Popcorn

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

3 quarts popped popcorn
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Place the popcorn in an ungreased baking pan. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over popcorn and toss to coat.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Tips and Tricks
This homemade version of flavored popcorn is healthier than the bagged versions. Try different flavors of cheese or dressing mix for a different taste. Use plain microwave popcorn to save time. We have a Whirly-Pop pot and my son loves to turn the handle (with supervision).
Make It Healthier
Use low-fat salad dressing mix. Decrease the amount of butter or use trans-fat free spread. Substitute a stronger cheese, such as Romano, for the Parmesan, and use less.
How Kids Can Help
Pop the popcorn. Measure ingredients. Toss to coat.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sesame Hot Dogs

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

8 hot dogs
1/4 cup sharp American cheese spread
1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (16 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Make a lengthwise slit in each hot dog, 3/4 of the way through the hot dog. Spread cheese into pockets. Roll each biscuit into a 5 inch circle; wrap one around each hot dog. Brush with butter and roll in sesame seeds.

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. bake at 425 for 11-1 minutes or until golden brown.

Tips and Tricks
In place of cheese spread, insert thinly sliced cheese into the hot dogs. Use whatever cheese you have on hand. Find sesame seeds in the Asian foods section of the grocery store.
Make It Healthier
Hot dogs will probably never qualify as a healthy food, but you can minimize the processed foods. Use hot dogs that are 100% beef or turkey. Substitute regular cheese for the processed cheese spread. Use low-fat biscuits. Use trans-fat free spread in place of the butter.
How Kids Can Help
Stuff pockets with cheese. Wrap in biscuits and roll in sesame seeds.

Cornflake Coating For Chicken

This homemade version of Shake n' Bake is easy to make and is perfect for quick, tasty suppers!

Prep: 5 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 batches (about 4 cups total)

9 cups cornflakes, crushed
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)

In an airtight container, combine the first eight ingredients. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

To prepare chicken: Place 1/2 cup coating in a shallow dish; coat chicken on both sides. Place in a greased baking dish. bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear. Makes 4 servings.

Tips and Tricks
To coat the chicken, place the pieces in a resealable plastic bag with the cornflake coating, then shake. Try different flavors of soup mix for variety. For moist chicken, dip pieces in ranch or Italian salad dressing before coating with crumbs. The soup mix has plenty of salt in it, so I omit the seasoned salt. To crush the cornflakes, put them in a ziploc bag and roll with a rolling pin.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Use bran flakes in place of cornflakes.
How Kids Can Help
Crush cornflakes. Measure spices. Coat chicken.
Suggested Sides
sliced melon, green salad, steamed green beans

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thai Noodles

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

4 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the broth, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through.

Drain spaghetti; toss with peanut butter mixture. Garnish with onion and peanuts.

Tips and Tricks
Chop green onions with kitchen shears. This recipe yields only two servings, but can be easily doubled or tripled. Make this a main dish by adding cooked chicken and your vegetables of choice. Make it spicier by topping with red pepper flakes. This is a great way to use up leftover spaghetti noodles.
Make It Healthier
Use whole wheat spaghetti, low-sodium chicken broth and unsalted peanuts. Use natural peanut butter.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Toss noodles with mixture.

Nutrition Facts
1 cup (prepared with reduced-sodium broth and reduced-salt peanut butter) equals 413 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 368 mg sodium, 59 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 17 g protein

Lemon Chive Dressing

Prep/Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1/4 cup

1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon minced chives
dash salt

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients; shake well. Serve over salad greens. Refrigerate leftover dressing.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe is a pared down version intended to serve one or two people. It can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a larger family. Chives can be found in the produce section of the grocery store. They are also one of the easiest herbs to grow, and a perennial, so they come back year after year. Grow them in a pot on your kitchen windowsill!
Make It Healthier
Omit the salt.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids could probably make this entire recipe. Younger kids can measure ingredients and shake dressing.

Nutrition Facts
2 tablespoons (calculated without greens) equals 17 calories, trace fat (0 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
free food

Friday, June 22, 2007

Iced Cranberry-Mint Tea

Prep: 20 minutes + standing
Yield: 2 quarts

4 cups water
2/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
8 lemon herbal tea bags
3 1/2 cups reduced-calorie reduced-sugar cranberry juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
ice cubes
lemon slices, optional

In a large saucepan, bring the water, mint and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.

Discard tea bags. Cover and let stand 45 minutes longer. Strain and discard mint leaves. Stir the cranberry juice and lemon juice into tea. Serve over ice with lemon slices if desired.

Tips and Tricks
Rather than boiling the water on the stovetop, I use a Pyrex bowl and cook the water mixture in the microwave. Use caution when removing the bowl from the microwave. Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow in your own garden.
Make It Healthier
Using low-cal low-sugar cranberry juice cuts 31 calories from each serving.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Add teabags to hot water.

Nutrition Facts
1 cup equals 34 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, trace protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1/2 starch

Pumpkin Pancakes (whole wheat)

Prep: 5 minutes
Yeild: About 18 4" pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup pureed, cooked pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup milk
1 egg

Preheat griddle. Mix together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, combine pumpkin, egg, oil, and milk until well blended. Pour into dry mixture and stir until just mixed, batter may be slightly lumpy. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake and cook until edges look dry, flip & brown the other side. Refrigerate leftovers until ready to use.

Suggested Sides:
Serve with butter (we use Smart Balance for an ideal omega-3 blend) and maple syrup. Also delicious with apple butter.

Tips & Tricks:
I use canned pumpkin as I don't have time to stew & puree pumpkin. I have a pumpkin cookie recipe that calls for most of a large can of pumpkin, so I make this with the pumpkin that is left over.

Make it Healthier:
This is a great recipe in that it is whole grain, high in beta carotene & fiber, and the olive oil is great for your heart. I use Vanilla Soymilk instead of dairy milk. To lower fat content, reduce olive oil to 1 tbs and add more milk for desired consistency-watch pancakes carefully, they burn faster this way!

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can blend together dry ingredients & mix the wet ingredients.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 Servings

1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
5-6 sliced mushrooms
2 tsp worchestershire sauce
pepper to taste

Saute beef, onion, & mushroom until beef is browned and onions are clear. Mix together soup, sour cream, milk, worchestershire sauce and pepper and add to beef & vegetables. Warm on medium heat until heated through. Serve over cooked & drained egg noodles.

Tips & Tricks:
This is a super easy recipe that is a family favorite. Even my picky nephews love it & clean their plates. The sauce is also delicous over white or brown rice, and occasionally I've added frozen peas to the sauce as well with good results.

Make it Healthier:
Use reduced fat sour cream or plain yogurt & low sodium soup. Use extra lean ground beef & drain fat before adding soup mixture. Serve over whole grain brown rice instead of noodles.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can help open soup cans & chop onions using the Pampered Chef chopper.

Speedy Spanish Rice

Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 cups instant brown rice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup picante sauce

In a large skillet, saute the rice, onion, green pepper and garlic in butter until rice is lightly browned and vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in the water, cilantro, cumin, bouillon and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in picante sauce.

Tips and Tricks
You can use non-instant brown rice, but prepare it separately first, according to package directions. The cumin can be omitted without changing the taste too much. To make this dish heartier, I add sliced cooked Italian sausage and serve as a main dish.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free spread in place of butter. Use low-sodium chicken bouillon granules.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Chop vegetables with food chopper.

Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup equals 201 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 8 mg cholesterol, 615 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cheese Puffs

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 15 minutes per batch
Yield: 4 dozen

1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large sauce pan, bring water, butter, salt and cayenne to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat. Immediately transfer to a mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in Gruyere and mustard.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-in. apart onto greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Tips and Tricks
Look for Gruyere cheese in the gourmet deli section of the grocery store. Swiss is usually easier to find (and cheaper). Use whatever bold or spicy mustard you have on hand.
Make It Healthier
Use low-fat cheese. Omit the salt. Consider egg substitute.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Older kids can break the eggs and use the mixture.

Bread Bowl Seafood Dip

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 1/4 cups

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 can (6 ounces) small shrimp, rinsed and drained
1 can (6 ounces) crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed
2/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 round loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread
assorted fresh vegetables

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, mayonnaise and mustard. Stir in the shrimp, crab, 1/3 Monterey jack cheese and onion. Cut the top fourth off the loaf of bread; carefully hollow out bottom, leaving a 1/2-in. shell. Cube removed bread, set aside.

Spoon seafood mixture into bread shell. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Wrap tightly in heavy-duty foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Unwrap, bake 20-25 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and dip is heated through. Serve with vegetables and reserved bread cubes.

Tips and Tricks
I make my own whole wheat bread dough in my bread machine, then shape into a round loaf and bake in the oven. Whipped cream cheese is the easiest to work with, but if using a block of cheese, cooking for 10 seconds in the microwave before whipping helps soften it just enough to easily beat. Chop green onions with kitchen shears. The dip can be made ahead of time before baking to save time.
Make It Healthier
Use low-fat mayonnaise and cream cheese. Serve with whole wheat or whole grain bread.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can use the hand mixer to beat the cream cheese mixture. Younger kids can dump ingredients into the bowl and spoon into the bread bowl.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Potato Soup With Chicken

Prep: 5 minutes or less
Cook: 8 hours
Yield: at least 6 servings

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 large cans potato soup or 2 packets powdered potato soup
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen sliced carrots
1 cup cooked egg noodles

Place chicken breasts in crockpot. Pour canned soup over chicken, or prepare powdered soup according to package directions and pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Add carrots, peas and noodles, stir. Cook for an additional 30 minutes or until heated through.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe is perfect for a busy day or when it's too hot to cook because it uses packaged foods and all you have to do is open them and dump in the ingredients. It's also versatile. Use whichever type of soup you have on hand, and vary the vegetables to suit your family's tastes. Leave out the pasta or use different types of noodles. This is a great way to use up leftover chicken or even ham. This recipe also make a great filling for a pot pie. Try using cheddar soup or adding grated cheddar cheese for a different taste.
Make It Healthier
Choose low-fat and low-sodium soups.
How Kids Can Help
Add ingredients to crockpot. Push buttons on crockpot.
Suggested Sides
bread, green salad
I used Tastefully Simple's Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup.

Sesame-Almond Romaine Salad

Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon sugar
2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen noodles, crushed
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 bunches romaine, torn
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a large skillet, melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Add the noodles, sesame seeds and almonds. (Discard seasoning packets from noodles or save for another use.) Cook and stir for 6-8 minutes or until browned; set aside. In a large salad bowl, toss the romaine and onions.

Combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Just before serving, drizzle over romaine mixture; top with noodle mixture. Toss the coat.

Tips and Tricks
Buy bagged romaine to save time. I am allergic to tree nuts, so I omit the almonds. Cut the green onions with kitchen shears. Find sesame seeds in the Asian foods section of the grocery store.
Make It Healthier
Use low-sodium soy sauce. Use trans-fat free spread in place of butter.
How Kids Can Help
Tear lettuce. Measure dry ingredients. Stir dressing to mix.

Italian Grilled Veggies

Prep: 10 minutes + marinating
Grill: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

1/3 cup chopped green pepper
3 medium fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup fresh cauliflowerets
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
3 cherry tomatoes, halved

Place first 5 ingredients into a resealable plastic bag. Add salad dressing; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for one hour, turning at least once.

Transfer vegetables to a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18x12). Fold foil around vegetables and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Spoon into a serving bowl, stir in tomatoes.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe is designed to serve two people, but can be easily doubled or tripled for a larger family. I don't keep Italian dressing, so I make just enough of my own from scratch to marinate the veggies in. This is a make-ahead dish, you can put the vegetables in the refrigerator in the morning. This recipe goes well with Veggie Pizza Squares. Use half the cauliflower and broccoli on the grill and the other half for the appetizer.
Make It Healthier
Use light or fat-free salad dressing.
How Kids Can Help
Place veggies in bag. Turn to coat.

Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup (prepared with fat-free dressing) equals 58 calories, 1 g fat (trace saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 446 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fruity Punch

Prep/Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: about 2 quarts

2 cups orange juice, chilled
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
2 cups sweetened pink grapefruit juice drink, chilled
3 cans (12 ounces each) ginger ale, chilled

Combine the first three ingredients. Refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, stir in ginger ale. Serve over ice.

Make It Healthier
Use diet ginger ale.
How Kids Can Help
Pour liquids into pitcher. Stir.

Stuffed Grilled Zucchini

Prep: 25 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 medium zucchini
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-in. shells. Brush with 2 teaspoons oil; set aside. Chop pulp. In a large skillet, saute pulp and onion in remaining oil. Add garlic; cook one minute longer. Add bread crumbs; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, mint and salt. Spoon into zucchini shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Tips and Tricks
Buy preshredded cheese to save time. Try different flavors of bread crumbs. Use food chopper to chop onion.
Make It Healthier
Use reduced-fat cheese. Omit salt. Make sure grill is not too hot to prevent scorching.
How Kids Can Help
Chop onions with food chopper. Spoon filling into shells.

Nutrition Facts
2 stuffed zucchini halves (prepared with part-skin mozzarella cheese) equals 186 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 11 mg cholesterol, 553 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 9 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat, 1/2 starch

Firecracker Burgers

Prep: 20 minutes
Grill: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 chunky salsa
4 frozen breaded cheddar cheese jalapeno peppers, thawed
1/4 cup guacamole
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
4 lettuce leaves
1/4 cup salsa con queso dip
1/4 cup sliced plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives
4 thin slices sweet onion

In a bowl, combine the beef and salsa. Shape into four patties. Place a jalapeno in the center of each wrap beef around jalapeno, forming a ball. Reshape into patties, about 3 1/2 in. to 4 in. in diameter and 1 in. thick.

Grill, covered, over medium-hot heat for 7-8 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink. Spread guacamole over toasted side of bun tops. On each bun bottom, layer lettuce, a burger, con queso dip, tomatoes, olives and onion; replace tops.

Tips and Tricks
I don't care for jalapeno peppers, so I omit them. In place of frozen, breaded peppers use fresh peppers, finely diced, and shredded cheddar cheese. In place of con queso dip, use slices of American cheese. Buy pre-made guacamole or make Light Guacamole yourself. Make smaller burgers for a larger yield.
Make It Healthier
Serve on whole wheat rolls. Use the leanest meat available. Use dark green leafy lettuce, such as romaine. Substitute fresh peppers and cheese for processed foods.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Layer vegetables and cheese on buns.

Dark Chocolate Fondue

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 cups

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
2 dark chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each), chopped
3 squares (1 ounce each) milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
cubed angel food cake and assorted fresh fruit

In a small saucepan, combine flour and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Stir in chocolate and corn syrup. Cook and stir until melted.

Transfer to a small fondue pot and keep warm. Serve with cake cubes and fruit.

Tips and Tricks
Try using the microwave to melt the chocolate. If you don't have a fondue pot, serve in a miniature crockpot.
How Kids Can Help
Break up chocolate pieces. Stir chocolate mixture.

Nutrition Facts
1/4 cup (calculated without cake and fruit) equals 154 calories, 7 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 6 mg cholesterol, 29 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1 1/2 fat, 1 starch

Veggie Pizza Squares

Prep:30 minutes + chilling
Yield: 2 dozen

2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated reduced-fat crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup fresh cauliflowerets, chopped
1 cup fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 cup julienned green pepper
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cans (2 1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion

Unroll both tubes of crescent dough and pat into an ungreased 15-in by 10-in by 1-in baking pan; seal seams and perforations. bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheeses, yogurt, mayonnaise, milk, dill and garlic salt until smooth. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green pepper, mushrooms, olives and onion. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Cut into squares. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tips and Tricks
Store brand crescent rolls are often cheaper while maintaining quality. Use Pampered Chef food chopper (see sidebar) to chop veggies. Buy presliced mushrooms to save time.
Make It Healthier
This recipe is a lightened up version of a favorite appetizer. The makeover recipe contains 61% less fat overall and almost 100 calories less per square.
How Kids Can Help
Roll out crescent rolls. Top crust with veggies.

Nutrition Facts
1 piece equals 128 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 365 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1 starch, 1 fat

Fruit Salsa With Cinnamon Chips

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 1/2 cups salsa/80 chips

1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
1 medium navel orange, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium kiwifruit, peeled and finely chopped
1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
10 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. over; refrigerate until serving.

For chips, brush tortillas with butter; cut each into 8 wedges. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over tortillas. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes or until just crisp. Serve with fruit salsa.

Tips and Tricks
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the kiwi fruit. Vary the salsa by using different types of fruit. To save time, buy premixed cinnamon sugar.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free whole wheat tortillas. Substitute trans-fat free spread for the butter.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can help slice the fruit. Mix fruit in bowl. Sprinkle sugar over tortillas.

Earthquake Cake

Prep: 20 minutes plus baking
Yield: 9x13 cake

1 cup choppped nuts
1 cup coconut
1 Deluxe German Chocolate Cake mix, batter made according to package directions
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 pound powdered sugar
1 cube butter, softened

Grease 9x13 cake pan and spread with chopped nuts & coconut. Pour cake batter over nuts. Mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar & butter until well blended and drizzle/spread over top of batter.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 300 and bake 30 minutes more.

Tips & Tricks:
You can use a regular chocolate cake or german chocolate cake batter from scratch in place of the mix, although it will be slightly more batter than is needed. Use reserved batter for cupcakes. Any chocolate cake mix will work in place of german chocolate. This recipe turns out ooey gooey delicious and no frosting is needed.

How Kids Can Help:
Older kids can prepare cake batter and possibly make this entire cake themselves. Kids can help drizzle filling on the cake batter & spread nuts & coconut in the pan. Little kids can chop nuts with a pampered chef chopper.

Suggested Sides:
Vanilla Ice Cream.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Spinach & Tuna Tortellini

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

16 oz spinach tortellini cooked according to package directions
1 tbs olive oil
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz tomato juice
3-4 large roma tomatoes, diced
1 large can tuna, drained
1 tbs lemon juice
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
Salt & Pepper

Heat olive oil in skillet, add pepper flakes and garlic and heat, add tomato juice, and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes & spinach, reduce heat to low. Add tuna & juice. Toss dressing over pasta. Salt & Pepper to Taste.

Tips & Tricks:
This gourmet, healthy tuna casserole is delcious as a main dish, or chilled as a pasta salad. For pasta salad, add julienne bell peppers & thinly sliced red onion after chilling.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Creamy Onion Beef Sandwiches

This recipe is a great way to use up leftover roast beef.

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2-4 minutes
Yield: 4 sandwiches
1 tablespoon onion soup mix

3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2-1 teaspoons horseradish
4 medium sandwich rolls
12 slices roast beef
4 slices American cheese

Mix the first three ingredients in a small bowl. Remove tops of rolls and spread with mixture. On bottoms of rolls, arrange beef and cheese,

Broil 2-4 inches from the heat for 2-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Replace roll tops.

Tips and Tricks
If you don't like horseradish, use just a small amount to give the spread a little zip. The original recipe calls for deli roast beef, but I used leftovers from a roast I made myself. Use any type of cheese you have on hand.
Make It Healthier
Use light sour cream. Use non-process cheese. Serve on whole wheat rolls.
How Kids Can Help
Arrange meat and cheese on rolls. Spread onion mixture on rolls.
Suggested Sides
sliced melon

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fireworks Faves? 4th of July Recipe Sharefest

4th of July Recipe Sharefest

We are having our first Recipe Sharefest, and the theme is Traditional 4th of July Fare.

With Independence Day fast approaching now is the time to post your favorite recipes on your blog. Backlink here and leave us a comment so we know you are playing along!

All recipes posted for this meme will be added to this site under a special label! Don't miss out on this chance to share your family's favorites and maybe find a new one!

Tell your friends & join in the fun!

McDonalds Big Mac Sauce

This is a recipe for "special sauce." A great way to have yummy burgers at home without having to eat fast food.
Prep: 5 minutes
Yield: 3/4 cup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons french dressing
4 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well. Refrigerate for several hours. Stir sauce before using on hamburgers.
Tips and Tricks
If you don't keep relish, you can substitute finely chopped pickle.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Use light mayonnaise.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients, stir in bowl.

Three Bean Salad

This recipe is one of my mom's specialties and one of my husband's favorites!

Prep/Total Time: 10 minutes + chilling

1 can green beans (14 1/2 ounces), drained
1 can wax beans (14 1/2 ounces), drained
1 can lima beans (14 1/2 ounces), drained
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup chopped roasted red pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine first seven ingredients. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over bean mixture. Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours.

Tips and Tricks
Use Pampered Chef chopper (see sidebar) to chop onion and pepper. In place of roasted red pepper, use a small amount of pimiento to taste.
Make It Healthier
Use low-sodium canned beans and omit the extra salt.
How Kids Can Help
Empty cans into bowl. Use food chopper to chop onions and peppers. Pour dressing over bean mixture.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Healthy Lifestyle-My family loves sweet potatoes and I've found that nearly anything you can do with white potatoes, you can do with sweet potatoes. The bonus? More flavor and a delicious texture! Plus you are loading up on fiber, complex carbs, and beta carotene. Here are some of the variations my family loves.

Tips & Tricks-Anything you can do with sweet potatoes, you can also do with banana, butternut, or acorn squash. All these variations are also delicious using squash, and the sweet breakfast varieties are yummy made with mashed pumpkin.

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Peel, cut, & boil 6 sweet potatoes or yams until tender. Mash with desired seasonings.

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes- Mash with butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt & pepper to taste.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Gravy- Mash with 1/8 cup milk, serve with roast beef & gravy.

Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes-Top mashed sweet potatoes with melted cottage cheese, salt & pepper to taste.

Twice Cooked Sweet Potatoes-Stir butter, chives, garlic & sour cream into mashed sweet potatoes. Put in baking dish & top with melted cheddar cheese, heat until cheese is melted & potatoes are heated through.

Sour Cream Mashed Sweet Potatoes-Mash with butter, chives, & sour cream.

Cinnamon Mashed Sweet Potatoes- Mash with 1 Tbs brown sugar & 1 tsp cinnamon. Serve with eggs and/or pancakes.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes-Mash with butter & maple syrup. Serve with pancakes.

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes-Mash with butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt & pepper to taste. Serve with sausage and/or eggs.

Chili's Margarita Grilled Chicken Breasts

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 2 hrs, including marinating

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Margarita Mix liquid
1/4 cup lime juice
1Tbs sugar
1 Tbs Minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Pour margarita mix, lime juice, sugar and garlic over chicken breast and let marinate for 2 hours in refrigerator. When ready to prepare drain and dust with black pepper to taste.Grilling works best, but you can also use an iron skillet and bring to medium high temperature.Spray an oil coating into pan and braise chicken breast until done on each side.

Tips & Tricks:
This is a recipe I modified for my lifestyle, since we don't use alcohol. The original recipe called for Tequila, which I substituted using lime juice.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can pour the marinade mixture over the chicken & help spray pan with cooking spray.

Suggested Sides:
Mexican Rice, black beans & salsa.

Nilla Apple Crisp

This lighter version of a classic dessert tastes better than any boxed version I have ever had, and it's so simple to make!

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

8 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (about 4 large/2 lb)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup cold margarine
25 reduced fat Nilla Wafers, crushed (about 1 cup crumbs)
1 1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip Lite

Preheat oven to 350. Toss apples with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Spoon into a square baking dish.

Combine oats, the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add wafer crumbs; mix well. Spread crumb mixture over apples.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm or cooled. Top with whipped topping.

Tips and Tricks
Use an apple corer to slice apples, then peel wedges. Use Pampered Chef food chopper (see sidebar) to chop apples. Try different varieties of apples for a different flavor.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free spread. Omit whipped topping.
How Kids Can Help
My apple corer is not sharp. My toddler just needs help applying enough pressure. Kids can measure dry ingredients and spread apple mixture in pan.

Nutrition Facts
1/2 cup equals 160 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, trace protein

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Baked Triple Veggie Dip

This is a Kraft Foods "Best Of" recipe. It's easy and tasty!

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 can (1 pound 3 ounce) asparagus spears, drained and chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 can (8 1/2 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 container (8 ounces) chive and onion cream cheese spread
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375. Reserve 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Mix remaining cheese and all remaining ingredients until blended.

Spoon into 2-qt baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.

Bake 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot with wheat crackers or cut-up vegetables.

Tips and Tricks
Place the thawed spinach in a colander to drain. Press the moisture out repeatedly. This is much easier than squeezing dry. Substitute other flavors cream cheese if chive and onion is not available. Buy prechopped artichokes to save time.
Make It Healthier
Use reduced-fat mayonnaise, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Serve with raw vegetables.
How Kids Can Help
Dump ingredients into bowl and mix. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Nutrition Facts
1 serving equals 70 calories, 6g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 2 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 3 g protein

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Slow-Cooked Mac and Cheese

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 2 3/4 hours
Yield: 9 servings

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 can (12 ounces) reduced-fat evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/3 cup egg substitute
1 tablespoon butter, melted
8 ounces reduced-fat process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the evaporated milk, milk, egg substitute and butter. Stir in the process cheese, 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese and macaroni.

Transfer to a 3-qt slow cooker coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and cook on low for 2 3/4 to 3 hours or until center is set, stirring once. Sprinkle with remaining sharp cheddar cheese.

Tips and Tricks
Substitute any small pasta for the elbow macaroni. Small shells work great.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free spread in place of butter. This recipe is a cut down version of a favorite comfort food. This light version has 137 calories less per serving, as well as 15 g of fat lighter and with half the cholesterol.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Shred cheese. Push buttons on slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup equals 300 calories, 12 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 647 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 19 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
2 lean meat, 1 fat

Hershey's Soft & Chewy Cookies

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies

1 Cup real butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 package any flavor baking chips (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, carob..)

Heat oven to 350. Beat butter, brown sugar & sugar in a large bowl until light & fluffy. Add corn syrup, egg & vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda & salt & gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and almost set. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet to a wire rack. Cool completely. Cookies will be softer the second day.

Variation: For chocolate chocolate cookies, decrease flour to 2 1/4 cups and add 1/4 cup cocoa. Use chocolate baking chips.

Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken

Prep: 10 minutes
Bake or Crock Pot: 6-8 Hours
Yield: Serves 6

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
salt & pepper to taste
Garlic Powder to taste

Rinse chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper & garlic powder. Mix undiluted soup; pour over chicken in crock pot. Cook on LOW (200-250 degrees) all day (6-8 hours). Serve over egg noodles.

Tips & Tricks:
I never stock cheese soup in my kitchen so I substitute 1/2 cup non fat sour cream & 1 cup grated cheddar. I like to add 1 cup milk also, and in the last 1/2 hour of cooking throw in a couple handfuls of uncooked egg noodles. I usually use fresh garlic in all my cooking. Since the chicken is slow cooked, it will be falling apart into bite size chunks on its own.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can blend the soups (or soup, sour cream, milk, & cheese) together.

Make it Healthier:
Use sodium reduced soups. Add veggies such as broccoli in the last half hour of cooking.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Crab-Topped Tilapia

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 tilapia fillets (5 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted, divided
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce for chicken
dash hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 pouch (6 ounces) premium crabmeat, drained
4 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs, divided

Sprinkle tilapia with pepper and salt. Place in a baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a small nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook the celery, onion and garlic in two teaspoons butter until tender. Stir in flour and thyme until blended. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce.

Remove from the heat; stir in mayonnaise until blended. Stir in crab until and 3 tablespoons bread crumbs. Spoon onto fillets. Toss remaining bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over crab mixture.

Cover and bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Tips and Tricks
I never have celery on hand, so I substitute a pinch of celery salt and omit the rest of the salt. Line baking pan with foil for easy clean up. If you don't have Worcestershire sauce for chicken, substitute regular Worcestershire sauce in the topping.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free spread. Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Chop onion and celery with food chopper. Measure dry ingredients. Spoon crab topping over fish fillets.

Nutrition Facts
1 fillet equals 248 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat) 106 mg cholesterol, 618 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 32 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
5 very lean meat, 1 fat, 1/2 starch

Blood Orange Berry Punch

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts)

1 package (12 ounces) frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1 3/4 cups blood orange juice (about 7 medium oranges)
2 cans (6 ounces each) unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
4 cans (12 ounces each) diet ginger ale, chilled
1 medium blood orange, thinly sliced, optional

Mash raspberries; strain, reserving juice and discarding seeds. Just before serving, combine the raspberry juice, orange juice, and pineapple juice. Stir in ginger ale. Garnish with orange slices if desired.

Tips and Tricks
If you don't want to juice the oranges yourself, many stores carry blood orange juice in the bottle. Check on the aisle with non-refrigerated juices.
How Kids Can Help
Mash the raspberries, mix the juices.

Nutrition Facts
1 cup equals 69 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 24 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1 fruit

Lime Navy Bean Chili

Prep: 15 minutes + soaking
Cook: 5 hours
Yield: 6 servings

1 1/4 cup dried navy beans
3 cups water
2 bone-in chicken breast halves (7 ounces each), skin removed
1 cup frozen corn
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice

Place beans in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2-in. Bring to a boil; boil for two minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for one hour. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.

In a 3-qt slow cooker, combine the beans, water, chicken, corn, onion, chilies, garlic, bouillon, cumin and chili powder. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until beans are tender and chicken juices run clear.

Remove chicken breasts; remove meat from the bones and cut into bite-size pieces. Discard bones and return chicken to the chili. Stir in lime juice just before serving.

Tips and Tricks
Use boneless skinless chicken breasts to save time. Substitute canned beans to skip the boiling step. Rinse canned beans well to remove sodium. Use Pampered Chef chopper to chop onion.
Make It Healthier
Trim excess fat from chicken. Use low-sodium bouillon.
How Kids Can Help
Measure dry ingredients. Chop onions with food chopper. Press buttons on slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts
1 cup equals 250 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 30 mg cholesterol, 532 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber 22 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
2 starch, 2 very lean meat, 1 vegetable

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Best Roast Beef

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes (or crockpot)
Yield: 4 servings

1 beef rump roast, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons grainy dijon-style mustard
1 tsp pepper
1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 can (14 ounce) low-sodium, fat-free beef broth, divided

Preheat oven to 425. Place the beef in a roasting pan. Mix the mustard and pepper in a small bowl; spread over the beef.

Toss the potatoes and squash with oil and salt; arrange in a single layer in a baking dish.

Place beef and vegetables in oven, roast for 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup broth and 1/4 cup water to pan with beef. Reduce oven to 350. Roast the beef and vegetables 15 minutes longer.

Roast the beef and vegetables 20 minutes longer, tossing vegetables after ten minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons broth.

Remove beef from pan and cover lightly with foil; set aside. Place the pan over medium-high heat; stir remaining broth into pan juices and add cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth and thickened to gravy consistency. Serve sliced beef with vegetables and gravy.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe can be made in the crockpot as well. Brown the roast on the stovetop if desired, then place in crockpot with beef broth and cook, covered, for 6-8 hours or until tender. Add the vegetables about halfway through the cooking time to keep them from overcooking. When making gravy, I prefer to strain the beef juices with a wire strainer. To reduce fat, let juices cool first, then skim fat off the top before thickening with cornstarch. If you don't like squash, this recipe works well with sweet potatoes.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Use prime cut of beef to minimize fat content. Use canola oil for roasting vegetables.
How Kids Can Help
Measure dry ingredients. Make cornstarch mixture. Older kids can help cut up vegetables.
Suggested Sides
fresh bread, green salad

Nutrition Facts
one serving equals 549 calories, 60 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 19 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 4 g fiber, 623 mg sodium

Seared Lemon Chicken

Prep: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
grated zest of one medium lemon

Place the chicken in a shallow dish. Mix 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp parsley, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey and garlic in a small bowl; pour over chicken. Turn the chicken to coat well with marinade. Chill for 30 minutes

Brush a nonstick grill pan with the remaining olive oil and heat until very hot. Transfer the chicken to the grill. Reserve the remaining marinade and set aside.

Quickly sear the chicken until browned, 1-2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat and cook, turning the chicken occasionally, until juices run clear, about 10 minutes longer.

Bring the reserved marinade to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes; pour over chicken. Remove the chicken from the grill pan; sprinkle with lemon zest and remaining parsley.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe can be easily adapted to an outdoor grill. If you don't have balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar works just as well. The boiling the marinade step is very important, to eliminate the chance of food borne illness, so be sure to follow the directions carefully, or make fresh marinade instead. Use fresh basil in place of parsley if needed.
Make It Healthier
Trim fat from chicken. Grilling at high temperatures has been linked to formation of carcinogens. Add rosemary to the marinade to reduce the effects.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients and mix marinade.
Lemon juice and parsley are both excellent sources of Vitamin C.

Nutrition Facts
1 serving equals 231 calories, 40 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), trace fiber, 113 mg sodium

Spring Chicken Casserole

Prep: 45 minutes
Bake: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 lb baby potatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups pearl onions, peeled
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
2 cups button mushrooms, halved
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and transfer to a large casserole dish.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms and garlic to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the vegetables from the skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add to the casserole dish.

Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and whisk in the broth, stirring until thickened. Add the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon parsley. Stir well and add to the casserole dish.

Cover the dish with a lid and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve hot.

Tips and Tricks
I dislike pearl onions, so I replace them with coarsely chopped red or vidalia onion. I also use whatever potatoes I have on hand, and usually substitute sliced mushrooms. Buy presliced/prewashed mushrooms to save time. Already peeled pearl onions are usually available in the frozen veggie section.
Make It Healthier
Omit the salt. Season with Herbal Salt Substitute instead. Use homemade chicken stock, which is usually lower in sodium.
How Kids Can Help
Measure dry ingredients. Older kids can use the Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter (see sidebar) to slice veggies. All my toddler did with this dish was sprinkle the parsley on top, but because he "helped," he ate the dish well.
Suggested Sides
green salad, whole wheat rolls

Nutrition Facts
one serving equals 373 calories, 45 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 5 g fiber, 398 mg sodium

Friday, June 8, 2007

Cooking From Scratch: Marinades

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It's grilling season, and marinades are a great way to add flavor and uniqueness to your grilling fare!

There are three key flavors in a good marinade: something sweet, something spicy, and something tart. A good marinade will also have some oil added to lock in the juiciness of your meat. With these in mind you can usually make up a delcious marinade with ingredients in your fridge or cupboards and little preplanning beyond thawing your meat in the morning, tossing it in a bag with your marinade, and grilling it in the afternoon or evening. No recipe needed!

For safety reasons, remember to save some of your marinade out for basting or to serve over your cooked meat-don't reuse the portion you marinated your meat in all day because its a risk factor in food poisoning!

Here are some jumping off points for each of the flavors. Mix and match them to find the marinades your family loves best!

Something Sweet:
Dr Pepper
French Salad Dressing
Ginger Ale

Something Tart:
Acids are an important part in a marinade. It tenderizes the meat as well as prevents heterocyclic amines from forming. These compounds created from cooking over a flame are cancer causing agents, so an acidic marinade will help prevent these from getting into your food!

Orange Juice
Grape Juice
Cooking Wine
Crushed Pineapple
Viniagrette Salad Dressings

Something Spicy:
A few drops of Tobasco Sauce
Ground Ginger
Minced Onion
Minced Garlic
Worchestershire Sauce
Soy Sauce

I always use Olive Oil when cooking, and my marinades are no exception although you can use any vegetable oil. I skip the oil step if I'm using a salad dressing in my marinade that is not reduced fat.

Making Your Marinade:
After choosing one or two flavors from each category that will complement each other, put your ingredients into a large Ziploc bag. Add thawed meat and place in refrigerator for at least four hours or as long as 12. Marinades with a high acid content will require less time & be aware that marinating too long can make your meat mushy. Marinating longer than 12 hours is not advised because it can contribute to food poisoning. Turn your bag of marinating meat over every couple of hours.

Tips & Tricks:
Slice or pound our your meat so it is thin, this will help the marinade flavors permeate your meat. If you use fruit juice in your marinade, undiluted concentrate works the best. Fruits & vegetables in your marinade should be minced extremely fine, crushed, or pureed for the best result. Be aware of using too much sweet ingredients as they can cause excess smoking on your grill.

The chicken pictured at the top of the screen was marinated with a mixture of BBQ sauce, mustard, lemon juice, fresh garlic, worchestershire sauce, and ground pepper.

Chinese Ground Beef Casserole

Yield: 8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes, plus baking (or crockpot)

2 large onions, finely chopped
1 can cr of mushroom soup
1 can cr of chicken soup
1 cup crispy chow mein noodles
2 lbs ground beef
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup long grain rice

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Fry together the onions and lean ground beef. Drain excess fat. Stir in rice, soups, soy sauce and water. Pour into greased 9x13 pan, cover & bake until rice is tender, about 1 hour. Top with chinese noodles.

Suggested Sides:
Tossed Green Salad & Rolls

Tips & Tricks:
This is a great dish because we usually have all the ingredients on hand at my house. In the summertime, put it in your slowcooker instead of baking, so you don't heat up your house.

Make it Healthier:
Use 1/2 beef and 1/2 extra lean ground turkey to reduce the amount of red meat. Use less meat and add chopped broccoli or spinach before baking. Use sodium reduced soy sauce & soups. To lightly grease baking pan, use a light olive or vegetable oil spray. Use whole grain brown rice.

How Kids Can Help:
Older kids can open cans. Younger kids can help stir ingredients together.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

4 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 cup honey
2 tbs yeast
9 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbs salt
2 eggs

Combine water, shortening, honey, eggs, and salt in mixer. Add 5 cups flour. Knead on low speed until well blended. Add the remaining flour. Beat on low for 10 minutes. Put dough in large bowl and raise until double. Roll out dough and cut into biscuits with a large circle cutter. Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees until done.

I'm sorry this recipe is so cryptic, with no yield or bake time information. This is a recipe from my mom's cousin Patrice and I have never made it. I just discovered it today, and I love that it is free of refined sugar, refined flour, trans fat, etc etc. I'm sure from the quantity of flour it makes a large quantity of buns, which can be frozen until you are ready to use them.

Understanding The Language

Once you've made the commitment to healthy living, the diet part of it is easy, right? Wrong. Unless you know what to look for on ingredient labels and what the jargon means, it can be overwhelming to try and make the right choices for your family. Here are the answers to several common questions. More detailed information and answers to questions not listed here can be found at Before undertaking any diet change or exercise program, you should always consult with your doctor.


Q: What are trans-fats?
A: Trans fats are a type of fat formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine.Trans fats are made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats. However, a small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods. Trans-fats are found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Trans-fats have been linked to heart disease because of the effect they have on cholesterol. FDA guidelines only require trans-fats to be listed on nutrition facts if the serving contains less than 1/2 g per serving, so be sure to look for the words "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" on ingredient lists.

Q: What does "refined" mean and what foods does it apply to?
A: The term "refining" means to remove by a purification process, certain coarsenesses or impurities. The process most often refers to sugars and grains.

Q: What is the difference between wheat and whole wheat?
A: Whole wheat refers to the unrefined grain. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Most refined grains are enriched. This means thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron are added back after processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains. Unless the label says "whole wheat," it isn't whole grain. Some products are made with a mixture of refined grains and whole grains, so read labels carefully.

Q: What are some other names for sugar?
A: Even a product that claims "no added sugar" on the label may still contain additional sweeteners, due to rounding. If you're watching your sugar intake, look for the following terms on the ingredient list: corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, dehydrated cane juice, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltodextrin, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, rice syrup, saccharose, sorghum or sorghum syrup, sucrose, syrup, treacle, turbinado sugar, xylose.

Q: What is the difference between sea salt, table salt and kosher salt?
A: Nutritionally speaking, kosher salt and sea salt are no different than table salt. The difference between these types of salt mostly concerns their taste and texture. Salt can be harvested from seawater through evaporation (sea salt), or it can be mined from inland deposits (rock salt). The type of salt that is most often used in cooking and at the table is from rock salt. Kosher salt is a coarse-grained rock salt that usually has no additives. Gourmet cooks often prefer the texture and flavor of kosher salt in cooking. Sea salt comes in either fine or coarse grain and has a slightly different taste because of different minerals it contains. Many people prefer sea salt to table salt because they claim it has a more subtle flavor. Sea salt also contains no additives.

Q: How do I know how many calories I need per day?
A: Your calorie intake depends on your age and size, as well as your activity level. It can be different for everyone. You can use the calculator at to give you a rough idea, but you should also consult with your doctor if you think you need to adjust your calorie intake.

Q: What is the difference "organic" and "natural?"
A: According to the USDA, food can be labeled “natural” only if it does not contain artificial flavor, coloring or chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient. Also, the product and its ingredients cannot have been more than minimally processed. This means that to be natural, the traditional processes used to make food edible, preserve it or make it safe do not fundamentally change the raw product. Ground beef, for example, is not a “natural” product because the act of grinding the meat makes it more than minimally processed. "Organic" food is produced according to government-regulated standards. Crops must be grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers or sewage sludge. Ionizing radiation and additives must not be used during processing. Animals used for food must be raised without antibiotics and growth hormones. Neither crops nor animals can be produced with genetically modified organisms.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10-12 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 1/4 baking potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes
4 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 reduced-fat (1%) milk or buttermilk, warmed
4 large green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Peel the potatoes and slice into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add the broth, garlic and enough cold water to completely cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Drain the potatoes. Add the milk and mash well with a potato masher.

Mix in the onions, salt and pepper; serve hot.

Tips and Tricks
Whip the potatoes after mashing, either with an electric mixer or by hand. This adds air and makes the potatoes fluffy. Make sure the milk is warm; cold milk will affect the texture. Slice green onions with kitchen shears, or omit if you don't have any. If you don't like garlic, replace it with 1/4 tsp nutmeg or lemon zest.
Make It Healthier
Omit the salt. Use homemade chicken stock; it is easier to control the salt content this way.
How Kids Can Help
Mash potatoes, stir in milk and onions. Older kids can slice the onions.

Nutrition Facts
1 serving equals 194 calories, 5 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, trace fat, 5 g fiber, 894 mg sodium

Saving Time and Money: Navigating The Grocery Store

Grocery shopping can be a huge drain on your time and on your wallet, especially if you have a large family or if you work outside of the home. Here are some tips that have worked for me, intended to get you out of the store as fast as possible, while spending as little as possible.

1) Prepare ahead of time. This means having a basic idea of what you would like/need to cook in the following days, checking kitchen staples, and making a list. I plan my meals for the week in advance, so I make a simple menu. Then I list items I need to buy, plus things for lunches and other items like baby food or anything we may be running low on, such as milk or bread. Then I check my coupons and pull out any I may be able to use, and peruse the grocery store circulars for the best prices. If you don't get the paper, most chains have the circular available online. I also organize my list by department; all produce items together, all dairy items together, etc, so I spend less time crisscrossing the store for something I forgot. It sounds like a lot of work, but it actually takes very little time and it saves precious moments in the store.

2)Once you get to the store, stick to the list. The best way to do this is to not even go down aisles that don't stock things on your list. Be aware of advertising and impulse purchases. This article on MSN Money lists fifteen ways that stores use advertising to get you to spend more money.

3) If you are shopping with your kids, come prepared with diversions. The store I most frequently shop at has the carts with the ride-in truck attached. They are harder to steer, but my toddler loves them and he has so much fun that shopping for food is much easier. Older kids can hold your list and help cross items off as you get them, and if you have a math-minded child, they can help compare prices. A friend gives her toddler a sheet of stickers from the dollar store and lets her decorate items as she puts them in the cart. When I buy produce, involving my son in deciding what kind of fruits or vegetables to buy not only keeps him occupied, but also makes him more likely to eat it.

4) Avoid shopping on the busiest days or at the busiest time of day. Those days and times will vary depending on where you live, but I have found Saturday mornings and right around 5PM during the week to be the times to avoid. Store hours will also vary, but my favorite store is open until midnight seven days a week. I have found that the store is practically empty if I go when the kids are in bed for the night. I leave them home with my husband and get to shop by myself in relative silence.

5) Keep an eye on prices. Just because an item is on sale doesn't make it the best option. Another brand may be cheaper. Many stores list a price per unit, such as ounces or pounds, so that is one way to compare if the larger package really is the better deal.

6) Consider store brands. While there are some items I am absolutely brand loyal to, such as Sunmaid Raisins or Perdue chicken, I'll try just about anything once. A lot of store brands are comparable to the more expensive brand name product and can save you a lot of money. For example, I will buy Safeway brand bread crumbs and frozen vegetables, but not canned soup or tuna fish.

7) Stock up on staples. At certain times of the year, you can buy certain pantry staples for way below normal price. Baking goods are usually on sale around the holidays and soups are cheaper (and more coupons available) in the winter months. If you have the storage space, buying non-perishable staples for next to nothing will save you a lot of money. Be sure, however, that the item is something that you will use. It does you no good to buy canned beans for better than half price if your family doesn't care for beans. A good option for those very cheap items you just can't pass up is to donate the food to your local food pantry.

8) Consider coupons. Many stores will double or triple coupons. Don't forget that if you buy an item on a 'buy one get one free' sale, you can use two coupons. Check out or google 'coupon websites' for more options. You can also visit the website for your favorite brands, many offer printable coupons for the products. If you have babies, sign up for savings programs through Gerber, Enfamil, Similac, or whatever brands you use. Gerber offers coupons for jar foods and Enfamil Family Beginnings provides a few cans of free formula, a free diaper bag, and 75 dollars in coupons for formula. There are websites to trade coupons, websites offering couponing advice, and websites telling you which coupons to use at which grocery store. If you are interested, the possibilities are endless. My local paper offers coupons on the weekends, and a cost of 99 cents per week, the coupons more than pay for the paper. Be sure not to fall prey to buying an item just because you have a coupon. It doesn't save money to buy two of something so you can use the coupon if you only needed one of the item.

9) On warm days, shop for nonperishables first, then food that needs to be refrigerated/frozen to minimize spoiling or thawing.

10) When checking out, group like products together on the belt. Be sure to keep meat separate from your produce. When you get home, putting away your purchases will be easier. I make sure all my perishables are bagged together. Then if my kids are fussy when we get home, all I have to do is grab those bags and put them away. I can give my attention to my kids and leave the rest for later.

11) Buy "family size" packages of items you use a lot of. Ground beef, for example, is often several dollars cheaper per pound if the package is more than three pounds. Separate the meat when you get home into labeled freezer bags and store in the freezer.

12) Beware of extras. Grocery store prices on things like cosmetics, OTC medications, diapers and paper goods are often two to three times higher than at another retailer. I have often tossed a pair of pantyhose or a roll of paper towels into my cart if it was the only non-cooking thing I needed, but if you have a long list of things like this, it may be worth it to go to the other store. It depends heavily on what retailers you have available and how close they are.

Have a tip not listed here? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sunshine Fruit Salad

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes plus chilling
Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
3/4 cup blueberries
1/2 each small cantaloupe and honeydew, deseeded and peeled
2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
1/2 cup seedless red grapes
1/2 small pineapple or 1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks in fruit juice

Mix one cup water, honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat until honey has dissolved; remove from heat and let cool.

Slice the strawberries in half and place in a serving bowl. Add the blueberries. Scoop the melons into balls with a melon ball cutter or cut into bite-size pieces. Add melon, tangerines and grapes to the serving bowl. If using fresh pineapple, cut off the peel, remove the tough center core and cut into bite-size pieces. If using canned pineapple, drain well. Add to serving bowl.

Pour the cooled syrup over the fruit mixture. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or until ready to serve.

Tips and Tricks
Substitute any type of fruit you like. If using bananas, do not add them until ready to serve, or they will turn brown and mushy. Consider cutting grapes if children will be eating the salad.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can help slice fruit. Younger kids can put fruit into the bowl and pour honey mixture over top.
Honey is a natural sugar, ore easily digested, and has fewer calories than refined sugar.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving equals 193 calories, 2.5 g protein, 50 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat (trace saturated fat), 5 g fiber, 35 mg sodium

Crockpot Lamb with Vegetables

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This is another recipe I created from what I had on hand & in the freezer.

Prep: 20 minutes
Slowcooker: 6 hours

4-6 Lamb Chops (uncooked, thawed)
6 potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced

3/4 cup raspberry viniagrette salad dressing
Freshly Ground Pepper
Parmesean Cheese

Layer in crockpot potatoes, then carrots & celery. Put chops on top. Blend remaining ingredients and pour over all and cook for 6-8 hours in slowcooker.

Tips & Tricks:
Chicken breasts or Pork chops can be substituted for the lamb. In a pinch, any viniagrette or italian dressing can be used in place of the raspberry viniagrette. If I used regular Italian, I'd add a bit of grape juice to it.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can help layer ingredients in crock pot.

Make it Healthier:
Select lean cuts of meat & trim visible fat. Try adding additional varieties of vegetables in place of the white-starch potatoes.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Oven-Fried Fish Nuggets

This lightened up version of deep-fried fish is also a great alternative to store-bought fish sticks.

Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup crushed cornflakes
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 1 inch cubes
butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray

In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cornflakes, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Coat fish with butter-flavored cooking spray, then roll in crumb mixture.

Place on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Tips and Tricks
In place of cod, use bass, catfish, or whatever fish you prefer. If fish has a strong smell, try placing it in a shallow dish and covering it with milk and refrigerating for 30 minutes. Discard the milk. This process should remove any "fishy" odor. To remove skin from fish fillets, use a boning knife. The easiest way to crush the cornflakes is to put them in a resealable bag and use a rolling pin.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Use a low-mercury fish.
How Kids Can Help
Measure dry ingredients. Spray cooking spray.
Suggested Sides
Crisco makes a trans-fat free butter-flavored cooking spray.

Nutrition Facts
1 serving equals 171 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 66 mg cholesterol, 415 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 29 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
5 very lean meat, 1/2 starch

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
1 medium lemon, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer in a baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender.

Tips and Tricks
Try different varieties of potatoes. I used Yukon Gold potatoes and cut them into wedges with my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter (see sidebar). In place of fresh lemon, I used a splash of lemon juice, and I used 1 teaspoon dried rosemary. Halfway through the bake time, flip the potatoes with a spatula to prevent them from getting too brown.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Toss to coat. Arrange on baking pan.

Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup equals 132 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 207 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat

Santa Fe Chicken Salad

Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of An Ordinary Mom

4 breasts of chicken, cooked then sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped small

1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ear of corn, cut off kernels (can use frozen or can corn)

1 tomato, chopped

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup jack cheese

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/4 small jicama, diced


crushed tortilla chips

cucumbers (optional)

Buttermilk Salsa Dressing (see below)

Pound the chicken with a meat tenderizer. In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken and sprinkle generously with lemon-pepper. Cook each side about 7 minutes or until done. Remove from pan to cool. Slice the chicken. Prepare all ingredients and toss the salad. Don’t add the salad dressing until ready to serve.

Buttermilk Salsa Dressing

In a blender mix one envelope of ranch dressing with the required amount of mayonnaise and milk. Then add FRESH deli salsa to taste. Try and not get too much of the liquid.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can add veggies to the salad bowl.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Whole Wheat Waffles

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 8-10 waffles

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbs baking powder
2 eggs, separated
2 tbs cooking oil
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups milk

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Combine egg yolks, milk, and oil and pour into flour mixture. Mix with a rotary beater or electric mixer just until smooth. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into batter. Pour batter into waffle iron as manufacturer directs and bake at medium heat until steaming stops and waffle is golden brown. Leftovers freeze well.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mile-High Tortilla Pie

This recipe is from the "out of the box" feature in the June 2007 issue of Parents magazine. I don't normally like recipes out of this magazine, but this one was not only easy, but delicious!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 ounces) whole-kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 jar (16 ounces) chunky mild salsa
1 pck (10 oz) fajita-style cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
5 (10 inch) flour tortillas
2 cups (8 oz) shredded reduced-fat Monterrey Jack cheese
Fat-free sour cream, optional

Heat oven to 425. In a medium bowl, combine black beans, corn, salsa, chicken and cilantro. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 tortilla in coated pan. Top with 1 1/2 cups of the bean mixture and 1/4 of the cheese. Layer three more times, finishing with the last tortilla.

Bake in oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese melts and filling is hot. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Tips and Tricks
I used frozen corn instead of canned to lower the sodium and omitted the peppers. Use 1/3 the amount of cilantro if using dried in place of fresh. I also made my own chicken to lower the cost.
Make It Healthier
Use fresh or frozen corn to lower sodium. Use whole wheat tortillas.
How Kids Can Help
Stir bean mixture. Stack tortillas and layer filling. Older kids can shred cheese.

Nutrition Facts
1 servings equals 409 calories, 31 g protein, 10 g fat, 52 g carbohydrate, 438 mg calcium, 6 g fiber