Foodie Blogroll

Monday, October 31, 2011

ABC Sandwich

Alphabet Adoration
What's the smartest sandwich on the block? The  amazing ABC Sandwich! (aka the Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar). Some may consider it an odd combination but I say why not combine all the best things in life? Juicy apple slices, tangy mustard, gooey cheese, and crispy bacon create a flawless sandwich. My motivation for making this meal was a brilliant sandwich-shaped pan I bought over the weekend. It's not required  for this recipe but it certainly adds some cuteness to the cooking process!

ABC Sandwich
Gluten Free
Makes 1

2 slices light gluten free sandwich bread
1 slice turkey bacon (I prefer the "natural" kind by Applegate Farms)
4-5 thin slices of apple (about a 1/4 of an apple, save the rest for a snack)
2 tsp. Promise butter spread
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 slice fat-free cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on a small square of aluminum foil and bake until crispy (about 12 minutes). Cut strip in half  then cut each half into 3 matchstick shaped pieces (kitchen shears work well for this).

2. Spray a small skillet (or sandwich-shaped pan!) with nonstick spray and heat over medium-low heat.

3.  Lay bread on a clean work surface (such as a cutting board). Spread 1 tsp. of Promise on each slice of bread and then flip so buttered side is facing down.

4. Spread each slice of bread with 1 tsp. of dijon mustard (not the side with the butter). Place apple slices evenly on one slice of bread (on top of mustard), then lay on cheddar cheese slice. Arrange bacon pieces on top of cheddar. Finally, finish with the remaining slice of bread with buttered side facing out.

5. Gently place sandwich in skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides (3-4 minutes). Press sandwich down with spatula occasionally.

Nutrition Information-- approximately 210 calories per sandwich

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spicy Buffalo Wings

Football Frenzy
These buffalo wings from Ellie Krieger taste exactly like what you typically devour while watching the big game. But not everything is as it seems and these wings are much healthier than anything you will order at a restaurant. The combination of boiling and broiling reduces fat while still creating a crispy, spicy, decadent wing. Don't forget the napkins!

Spicy Buffalo Wings
Gluten Free
Serves Two

1 lb chicken wings, split at the joint
2 tbsp. Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
1.5 tsp lemon juice
1.5 tbsp. chicken broth

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Place chicken wings in large pot and fill with water, covering wings by about 2 inches.

3. Bring wings to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil for 10 minutes, then drain chicken wings.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the the sauce by whisking together hot sauce, lemon juice, and chicken broth in a small bowl.

5. Once wings are boiled and drained, transfer to a broiler pan sprayed with nonstick spray.

6. Broil 5-6 minutes or until skin begins to blister and brown. Turn wings over and broil 5 minutes more.

7. Remove wings from oven and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Pour sauce over wings and toss until wings are evenly coated.

8. Place wings under broiler for 1 minute more (to warm sauce and wings together).

Nutrition Information-- approximately 160 calories per serving (4-5 pieces), 7.7g of fat

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Portobello Pillars

Stacked Skyhigh
Tonight's recipe was a dish that I created months ago but then completely forgot about. Luckily, I rediscovered it recently and was able to enjoy the dish tonight. This mushroom marvel is actually a combination of a few Rachael Ray recipes with the addition of a few tweaks of my own. The recipe consists of meaty portobello mushrooms that are broiled until tender, and then stuffed with a turkey ragu sauce that  tastes as if it's been simmering for hours, thanks to the red wine and fresh herbs (no one has to know how simple and quick it really is to make!).

Portobello Pillars
Serves Two

1/2 tsp. olive oil + more to brush on mushrooms
1/4 lb. extra-lean ground turkey
1/2 small carrot
1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup red wine (preferably Chianti)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 portobello mushrooms, wiped clean

1. Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet.

2. Add turkey to pan and use a spoon to break into pieces. Saute turkey, stirring occasionally, until cooked through.

3. Grate carrot into pan, then stir in rosemary,bay, and garlic (spritz pan with nonstick spray if it seems dry). Season with salt and pepper  Stir until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add wine to pan, stir and reduce about a minute. Stir in diced tomatoes.

5. Let the sauce simmer,stirring occasionally., while you prepare the mushrooms.  Preheat the broiler and line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spritz with nonstick spray

6. Use a spoon to carefully scrape out the gills of the mushrooms. Drizzle mushrooms with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides..

7. Set mushrooms on baking sheet and place under broiler for 5 minutes. 

8. Remove pan from oven and carefully flip mushrooms. Return to oven and broil 4-5 minutes or until tender.

9. To assemble, spoon sauce into mushroom caps (they will be overflowing!).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Softies

Muffin Tops (The Good Kind!)
Another delicious fall treat from Hungry Girl. This dessert is a truly unique combination of cookie, brownie, and muffin top that is aptly called a "softie" because of its pillow-y texture. This is the perfect treat on a cool, autumn day, particularly Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Softies
Gluten Free
Make 9 Cookies

1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. Truvia
2 tbsp. Promise butter spread
2 tbsp. liquid egg substitute
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
dash of cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup gluten free old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup oven-dried cranberries (recipe follows), chopped (or 1/4 cup raisins, chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, Truvia, Promise spread, egg substitute, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk or fork.

4. Add flour, spices (nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon), baking powder, and salt. Stir until ingredients are well-combined and batter is smooth.

5. Add oats and chopped cranberries (separate cranberries as you add them). Stir until evenly dispersed.

6. Use an ice cream to evenly spoon batter into 9 mounds on baking sheet (evenly spaced). Use the back of a spoon to spread and flatten into circles about 3 inches wide.

7. Bake softies in the oven until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (15-17 minutes). Let cool completely on cooling rack, then enjoy!

Nutrition Information--approximately 115 calories per softie

Oven Dried Cranberries
Gluten Free
Yields 1/4 cup

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries on baking sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Leave oven on for 10 minutes, then turn off.

Place cranberries in oven (yes, with the oven turned off!). Leave cranberries in overnight. The next morning remove cranberries from oven and sprinkle liberally with Truvia.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crustless Pumpkin Quiche Supreme

Savory Souffle
Today's recipe is an ingenious quiche from Hungry Girl that's bursting with Fall ingredients and flavors. The recipe creates a silky and decadent texture that  is similar to a souffle but without all the hassle.Plus with all-star ingredients like Laughing Cow and pumpkin puree, how can it be anything by scrumptious?

Crustless Pumpkin Quiche Supreme
Gluten Free
Makes 2 Side Dish Servings

1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup spinach leaves, chopped
1 wedge The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese, room temperature
3.5 oz. canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. chili powder
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two small ramekins with nonstick spray and set aside.

2. Bring a medium skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add onion and cook,stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned (about 5 minutes).

3. Transfer cooked onion to a large bowl and set aside.

4. Remove skillet from heat and respray with nonstick spray. Return to medium heat and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

5.  Add spinach and cook until wilted and excess moisture has evaporated, about 2 more minutes.

6. Transfer mushroom/spinach mixture to the large bowl. Add cheese wedge,breaking into pieces as you add it. Mix thoroughly, until cheese has melted and is evenly distributed.

7. Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl, and mix well. Evenly divide mixture between ramekins.

8. Bake in the oven until firm and lightly browned on top, 32-35 minutes.

Nutrition Information--approximately 67 calories per serving

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Squash "Boats" Stuffed With Quinoa & Mushrooms

Squash Boats
I was inspired to develop this recipe when I saw banana squash on sale at the grocery store. Banana squash has a similar flavor to butternut squash but grows to be much larger (which is why it is normally sold in pieces). In this dish, banana squash is roasted with a balsamic glaze and then overloaded with quinoa and mushrooms to create a magnificent and slightly messy creation.

Squash  "Boats" Stuffed With Quinoa & Mushrooms
Gluten Free
Serves 1

300g banana squash (about a 2.5 inch wide slice)
Salt & Pepper

Balsamic Glaze:
1 tbsp. Promise butter spread
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1.5 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. granulated Truvia
1 sprig of thyme

Mushroom Filling:
2 tbsp. quinoa
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth plus 1 tbsp. (check for gluten)
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup mushrooms,thinly sliced
1 sprig of thyme
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Place squash on baking sheet and spray with nonstick spray. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer squash to the oven and roast for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the balsamic glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the glaze ingredients over medium-low heat. Stir until butter has melted then reduce heat to low. Let glaze cook over low heat until squash has roasted for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove squash from oven and brush with balsamic glaze. Leave extra glaze in saucepan and set aside. Return squash to oven and continue roasting for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender.

4.  While the squash finishes roasting, begin the filling. Spray a small saucepan with nonstick spray and heat over medium-low heat. Add garlic clove and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add bay leaf, thyme, and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Bring to boil then season with salt and pepper.

5. Add quinoa to chicken broth mixture. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove thyme stem and bay leaf from quinoa.

6. Add 1 tbsp. of chicken broth to leftover balsamic glaze and stir until mixed.

7. Add balsamic glaze, mushrooms, and parsley to quinoa mixture. Stir to combine.

8. Carefully spoon quinoa mixture into "squash" boat. (Don't worry if some of the filling falls out, it will all taste delicious!). Drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sausage, Egg, & Cheese ChickGriddle

Fast Food Fakeout
There's no need to stop at McDonald's for a greasy sandwich when you can create an easier and more delicious version at home. The slimmed-down ChickGriddle is a delightful breakfast symphony for your mouth composed of cheese,sausage, and egg sandwiched between two fluffy pancakes.

Sausage, Egg, & Cheese ChickGriddle
Serves 1

1 tsp. light buttery spread
2.5 tbsp. sugar-free pancake syrup
1.5 tbsp. gluten-free flour
1/4 tsp. baking power
1 frozen meatless burger or sausage patty (80-90 calories)
1 slice fat-free American cheese
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
Optional dip: additional sugar free pancake syrup

1. To make the pancake batter, place butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds or until melted.

2. Add syrup, flour, and baking powder to butter and mix thoroughly.

3. Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Spoon in batter to form two small pancakes. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to a plate and set aside.

4. Prepare burger in the microwave according to package directions (microwave 2-3 minutes).

5. Place pancakes on broiler safe plate (or baking sheet). Top one pancake with burger patty than place cheese slice on top of burger (leave extra pancake on plate to be heated as well). Place plate until broiler and cook until cheese is melted (2-4 minutes).

6. Meanwhile, cook the egg- spray a cereal bowl with nonstick spray. Pour egg substitute into bowl and microwave 1 minute. Using a potholder to protect your hand, swirl the bowl to redistribute the egg mixture. Microwave an additional 30-45 seconds or until egg is set.

7. Use a spatula to remove egg patty from bowl and place on sandwich (on top of melted cheese). Finish with the remaining pancake. Dip the breakfast sandwich in extra pancake syrup if desired

Nutrition Information--approximately 215 calories per serving

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheesy Pizza Quesadilla

My dinner tonight was a Cheesy Pizza Quesadilla from Hungry Girl. The quesadilla has all the flavors you love from a pizza wrapped in a warm and toasty tortilla. It's the perfect marriage between Italian and Mexican food! Plus, pizza and quesadillas are typically high in fat and calories but of course, this recipe is completely guilt free in all of its ooey-gooey glory!

Cheesy Pizza Quesadilla
Gluten Free
Serves 1

2 tbsp. reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
1/4 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-large gluten free tortilla (the frozen tortillas seem to be the best)
1 wedge The Laughing Cow Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil cheese

1. In a small bowl, combine crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper , and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

2. Bring a medium-large skillet (at least the size of the tortilla) sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat.

3. Add mushrooms and bell pepper to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are softened(about 4 minutes). Remove veggies and set aside.

4. Remove skillet from heat, respray and place back on stove. Bring to medium heat.

5. Spread Laughing Cow evenly on one side of tortilla. Lay  tortilla flat in the skillet with cheese side up.

6. Evenly spread seasoned tomatoes over one half of the upward facing side of the tortilla (on top of the cheese).

7. Top tomatoes with veggies and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to crisp.

8. Using a spatula carefully fold the plain half of the tortilla over the filling and press down lightly to seal. Gently flip the quesadilla and cook until both sides are crispy, about 3 minutes.

9. Once tortilla is cool enough to handle, slice into wedges (kitchen scissors work work).

Nutrition Information--approximately 252 calories

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spicy Tilapia "Gryos"

Baja/Greek Mash-Up
This unique dish was inspired by a recipe from Iron Chef Cat Cora. Cat's recipe uses lettuce cups but since I'm not a lettuce fan, I decided to use nutritious kale instead. The "gryos" have Greek spices just  like the traditional lamb dish but are lightened up California Baja- style with the use of  fish and vegetable wraps. The outcome is a dinner that's packed with bold flavors but won't weigh you down.

Spicy Tilapia "Gryos"
Gluten Free
Serves 1


1 (4-5 oz ) tilapia fillet

4-5 kale leaves,halved and  ribs cut out
salt and pepper
Optional: any other desired toppings/condiments (scallions, tzatziki sauce, etc)

Tilapia Spice Rub:
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne (you can adjust according to your heat preference)

Tomato Salad:
3/4 cup diced tomatoes, drained well
2 tbsp. red onion, thinly sliced
4-5 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 tsp. capers, drained and chopped
1 tsp. lime juice
a few teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
a few teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put tilapia in a small baking dish. Whisk together all the ingredients for Tilapia Spice Rub in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Brush rub on fish and place in fridge for 10-30 minutes.

Preheat grill pan to medium heat and spray with nonstick spray.

Prepare the tomato salad by stirring all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and combine. Set aside.

Place tilapia on grill pan and grill 4-6 minutes per side or until cooked through and flaky.

While the fish is grilling, line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (you may need two).  Place kale leaves on baking sheet a sheet (if leaves are large, feel free to tear into smaller pieces). Spritz with nonstick spray and season well with salt.

Transfer kale leaves to oven and bake 2-3 minutes, or until leaves are soft and pliable.

Once fish is cooked, cut into smaller strips (6-8 pieces).

To assemble the gyros, place a piece of fish and place on kale leaf towards one end. Top with tomato salad and any optional garnishes. Roll up  and enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

BBQ Mango Tilapia

Easy as 1-2-3
If you're leery of cooking fish, you must try this recipe that is simple to make but complex in flavor. All it takes is three simple steps-- Step One- create a sweet and tangy marinade that then does double duty as a sauce. Step Two-  put fish in baking dish and place in oven. Step Three- read a magazine while you wait for your  fish masterpiece to cook!

BBQ Mango Tilapia
Gluten Free
Serves 1

1 (4 to 5 oz) tilapia fillet
2 tbsp. diced tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp. fresh mango, diced
2 tbsp. crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar-free orange marmalade
1 tbsp. ketchup (check for gluten)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. molasses
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, marmalade, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, molassses, and garlic powder. Mix well and then stir in diced tomatoes and mango.

2. Pour sauce into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Add fish and turn to coat.

3. Place sealed in bag on a plate (to catch any drippings) and let marinate in fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

5. Spray a small/medium oven-safe baking dish with nonstick spray.

6. Add fish to baking dish and pour any extra sauce on top.

7.  Bake fish for 12-15 minutes or until flaky and cooked through. Plate fish and spoon sauce on top.

Nutrition Information--approximately 200 calories per serving

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sticky Soy Glazed Pork

Lip Smacking Good
This Asian inspired recipe adapted from Clean Eating magazine, transforms pork tenderloin from ordinary to extraordinary. Brushing perfectly charred pork with the sweet and sticky glaze makes it almost reminiscent of baby back ribs.  This recipe is so delicious even the pickiest eater will love it.

Sticky Soy Glazed Pork
Gluten Free
Serves 2

1.5 oz gluten free, low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp lime zest
1.5 tbsp. lime juice
1.5 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (a citrus zester works well)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (3/4 lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat
2 tbsp. sugar free orange marmalade

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, and garlic.

2. Pour mixture into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and then place pork in bag. Squeeze out any extra air and seal tightly. Massage mixture to distribute marinade over pork. Place pork in fridge and marinade 20 minutes to an hour.

3. Spray grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium.

4. Place pork on grill (save bag with marinade), cover, and cook until just a hint of pink remains in the center (about 20 minutes depending on thickness of pork). Turn pork occasionally during cooking so all sides are cooked evenly

5. While pork is grilling,  make the glaze-Pour marinade into a small saucepan. Whisk in marmalade and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened , about 2-3 minutes.

5. Transfer pork to cutting board. Use a pastry brush to brush glaze all over pork. Let rest for 5 minutes.

6. Slice pork and plate. Pour any excess glaze on top.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

Here is a divine risotto dish  that was adapted from a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis. Creamy risotto is elevated to another level with the addition of butternut squash and  a surprisingly addictive broth that is infused with squash and vanilla. My version is pretty streamlined compared to traditional risotto with the elimination of butter, wine, and cheese, however, this recipe proves how frivolous those extra ingredients are for an exquisite risotto. Simplifying the ingredients also allows the risotto to be healthier and dairy-free.

Butternut Squash Risotto
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free
Makes 2 Large servings

4 cups low sodium chicken broth (check for gluten)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 tsp. chives
salt & pepper

1. Pour the broth into a medium saucepan. Add the vanilla extract and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium- low.

2. Carefully add in squash. Cook squash until fork-tender (about 20 minutes),  than remove from broth with a slotted spoon. Place squash on a plate and set aside. Leave broth simmering even after squash is removed (this is the broth you will use to cook the rice).

3. As the squash is cooking, begin the rice. Add olive oil to a large saucepan and bring to medium heat. Once oil is hot, add garlic and saute until fragrant about 30 seconds.

4. Pour in rice and stir until coated in oil. Next, use a ladle to remove about a half cup (it doesn't have to be precise) of the simmering broth and add to rice. (Be careful not to scoop out any of the squash). Stir the broth into the rice.

5. Continue stirring rice until it is almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes then add another ladleful of broth.

6. Continue stirring the rice, adding broth as needed every few minutes, until rice is tender and creamy. (This will take about 20-25 minutes total. The majority of the broth should be used up).

7. Turn off heat until risotto. Stir in squash, chives, and salt & pepper to taste. (Remove pot from burner if rice seems to stick a lot).

Nutrition Information--approximately 275 calories per serving

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Lean & Green
Pureed soups are the perfect blank canvas to create a delicious, flavorful, and filling meal. This recipe from Rocco DiSpirito transforms fresh broccoli into a creamy, soothing soup with the help of  yogurt and a hint of my favorite cheese.

Broccoli & Cheese Soup
Gluten Free
Makes 2 Large Servings

2.5 cups broccoli, roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.25 cups low sodium chicken broth, plus extra if needed
1 cup Silk unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
salt & pepper

1. Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat.

2. Once the pot is hot, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add broccoli, onion, and garlic and saute until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

3. Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to boil. Cook uncovered until the liquid has reduced by half, approximately 8 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch until thoroughly combined.

5. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the broccoli mixture (after it has reduced by half). Bring the soup to a boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened (about 2 minutes).

6. Remove the pot from the burner. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Add more chicken broth if necessary to reach desired consistency.

7. Stir the cheese and yogurt into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Petite Butternut Squash & Mushroom Bread Pudding

Stroke of Genius
I saw a recipe in the newspaper this weekend for a butternut squash and mushroom bread pudding and just had to create my own version. I lightened up the original recipe and simplified it by using a muffin tin and taking a few shortcuts. The result is a miniature bread pudding that is creamy, savory, and yummy.

Petite Butternut Squash & Mushroom Bread Pudding
Gluten Free
Makes 6 Muffins

4 oz. button mushrooms (7-8 mushrooms)
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup Silk Unsweetened Almond  milk
2 slices light gluten free sandwich bread (I used Ener-G Light Tapioca)
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp parlsey
dash of nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil (two small pans will work fine if you have them).

2. Place cubed squash on one pan and mushrooms on the other. Spray squash with nonstick spray and season with thyme, salt and pepper. Leave mushrooms unseasoned and don't add any spray. (they will release moisture as they roast) Put both pans in oven and roast for 20 minutes.

3. After twenty minutes, remove mushrooms from oven.  Stir squash and roast for 20 more minutes.

4. While squash is continuing to roast , thinly slice mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Remove squash from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Set vegetables aside.

5. To prepare egg batter, whisk together egg substitute, milk, and seasonings (garlic powder, thyme, parsley, nutmeg, and salt & pepper to taste) in a medium bowl.

6. Toast sandwich bread in toaster and cut into small cubes.

7. Gently fold bread cubes, squash, and mushrooms into egg mixture. Make sure all pieces are coated in egg, then let stand for 5-8 minutes.

8.  Spray 6 cups in a muffin tin with nonstick spray.

9. After pudding has set for 5-8 minutes, spoon mixture into 6 muffin cups. Try to distribute pieces as evenly as possible and be sure that each muffin has liquid as well as vegetables.

10. Place muffin tin in the 350 degree oven and bake for about 30-32 minutes or until tops feel firm and are lightly golden. Let cool slightly before removing.

Nutrition Information--approximately 45 calories per muffin

Monday, October 10, 2011

Joyful Heart Muffins

Chocolate Cravings
These super rich and delicious chocolate muffins are pretty miraculous considering they are low-fat, gluten- free, and dairy-free. Cocoa powder and Toblerone chocolate provide a perfect chocolate flavor in these delectable treats. These muffins from Bethenny Frankel are also quite versatile- just top with your favorite frosting to transform into a chocolate-y cupcake!

Joyful Heart Muffins
Gluten Free & Dairy Free
Makes 8 Muffins

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup Truvia
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. pure almond extract
1 tsp. canola oil
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cayenne
5 Toblerone One-by-One chocolate pieces, chopped into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 8 cups in a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Fill the remaining 4 with a splash of water.

2. In a small bowl, combine applesauce, Truvia, vanilla, almond extract, and canola oil. Stir and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne.

4. Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in chocolate pieces.

5. Use an ice cream scoop or a large spoon to divide batter between 8 muffin cups. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch.

6. Cool completely on a wire rack then pop out of muffin tin with a spoon.

Nutrition Information--approximately 90 calories per muffin

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

One Pot Wonder
Part stew. Part one pot meal. All parts delicious! Golden seared chicken is simmered in a marinara sauce full of vegetables to create a comforting & scrumptious meal. I'm normally not a fan of chicken thighs but they really add a lot of flavor and moistness to this dish. This recipe from Rocco DiSpirito is still extremely healthy even with the chicken.

Chicken Cacciatore
Gluten Free
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 oz each)
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (8 oz) package button mushrooms, sliced (or buy pre-sliced)
1 large green bell pepper, cut into a large dice
1/2 cup red wine
1.75 cups marinara sauce (I prefer Classico)
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

1. Heat a Dutch oven (or heavy duty saucepan) over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the pot is hot, add the olive oil.

2. Add the chicken to pot and sear on both sides until it is golden brown (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

3. Add the mushrooms and bell peppers to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables have softened a bit, about 8 minutes. Don't worry if vegetables stick a little in the beginning, they will release moisture as they cook.

4. Once vegetables are softened, carefully add the wine (it will steam) and cook until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the marinara sauce and the basil and bring the sauce to a simmer.

6. Add the browned chicken, pushing each piece down in order to submerge it as much as possible (you can spoon a little sauce on top of the chicken as well). Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover the pot and simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition Information--approximately 240 calories per serving, 6.9 g fat, 26 g protein, 2 g fiber, 12 g carbs

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Scallops With Capers and Tomatoes

Scallops Simplified
If you've ever been leery of working with scallops, this is the recipe to try. The most difficult thing about this dish is opening the can of tomatoes. What's even better about this recipe is the fact that it's ready in about 15 minutes. Exquisite sea scallops are seared to perfection and then topped with a sauce that is very straightforward but still has a pronounced and zesty Mediterranean flavor.

Scallops With Capers and Tomatoes
Gluten Free
Serves 4

1.5 lbs. sea scallops
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5) oz can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 pinch Fleur De Sel (or kosher salt)
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a layer on paper towels on a cutting board and set scallops on towels to drain. Put another layer of towels on top of scallops and pat gently. Dry scallops as thoroughly as possible! (this will ensure a golden sear).

2. Heat a large cast iron skillet (or a skillet with a heavy bottom) over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add scallops to pan; cook three minutes per side or until done (scallops should begin to turn opaque).

3. Remove scallops from pan and place on baking sheet. Place in oven to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

4. Add garlic to the pan; cook 15 seconds. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, capers, basil, and salt. Stir until heated through (about two minutes).

5. Remove scallops from oven and divide between four plates. Drizzle scallops with olive oil and then top with tomato mixture.

Nutrition Information--approximately 212 calories

Friday, October 7, 2011

Shrimp Roll

Decadence on a Dime
This is my very un-traditional version of a New England Lobster Roll. I swapped out the icky mayonnaise and pricey lobster for the ever useful Laughing Cow and more affordable shrimp. The resulting sandwich is still rich, luscious, and tasty. This is based on a variety of inspirations including a recipe by Giada and a recipe from Eat This Not That!

Shrimp Roll
Gluten Free
Serves 1

4 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 gluten-free hot dog roll or 2 slices gluten-free sandwich bread
Zero Calorie Butter Spray

Creamy Sauce:
1 tsp. fat free Greek yogurt
1 wedge Laughing Cow Light mozzarella cheese wedge, room temperature
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh chives
1 tsp. garlic, minced
sriracha, to taste (or other brand of hot sauce)
salt and pepper

1. Spray a small skillet with nonstick spray and heat to medium heat. Saute shrimp until cooked through and pink on both sides. (about 3 minutes per side)

2. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for sauce in small bowl until thoroughly combined.

3. Place cooked shrimp on a cutting board and chop into bite sized pieces. Transfer to bowl and stir until shrimp are coated in cream sauce.

4. Toast bread and spritz with butter spray. Spoon shrimp mixture onto one slice of bread and top with remaining slice. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information--approximately 250 calories per serving

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Individual Shepherds Pie

The Cure for Midterm Melancholy
I've had midterm exams all week so I was craving something warm and comforting to brighten my mood.  And nothing soothes the soul better than this Hungry Girl Shepherd's Pie with it's perfect mix of sweet vegetables, creamy gravy, and a one-of-a-kind topping. I changed this recipe to be single serving by using individual ramekins but it could easily be converted to multiple servings (just use multiple ramekins).

Individual Shepherds Pie
Gluten Free
Serves 1

4 oz raw extra-lean ground turkey
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted and drained (typically corn, green beans, and peas)
1 tbsp. onion, finely diced
3 tbsp. gluten free gravy (see recipe below)
3/4 tsp. Promise butter spread
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

1. Place a baking sheet covered in foil on the bottom rack of the oven (to catch any drippings from pie) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place squash in a microwave safe dish with an 1/8 cup of water. Cover bowl and cook squash in the microwave 10-12 minutes or until squash are tender.

3. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat, cook onions until slightly browned (2-3 minutes).

4. Add the turkey, garlic powder, salt and pepper to pan. Stir and cook until the turkey is browned.

5. Drain any excess liquid from the pan. Place meat/onion mixture in a 9 oz ramekin sprayed with nonstick spray.

6. Pour gravy evenly over meat and spread mixed vegetables on top. Set aside

7. Once squash is cooked, drain any excess water and mash well with a fork or potato masher. Add butter and salt and mix thoroughly. Layer the mashed squash on top of the veggie layer in ramekin.

8. Bake in the oven for 24-27 minutes or until crust looks slightly crispy

Nutrition Information-- approximately 240 calories

Think you need flour and meat to make a gravy? Think again!
Gluten Free Gravy
Makes about 1/2 cup

1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
1 sprig fresh thyme
salt and pepper

1. Combine onion, garlic, carrot, celery root, chicken broth, and thyme in a small saucepan over high heat. Season with salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender about 15 minutes.

2. Remove thyme sprig from pot and discard. Use an immersion blender to puree gravy until smooth. Add chicken broth as needed to reach a gravy consistency.(Or carefully pour into blender and blend until smooth.)  Serve, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spaghetti Pie

Pie for Dinner
This recipe further proves the point that anything gluten pasta can do, Miracle Noodles can do better. This Hungry Girl recipe variation is supremely satisfying and scrumptious. Baking the noodles creates a crispy  crust that is full of healthy vegetables. In fact, if you are really hungry you could just eat the entire pie for under 300 calories!

Spaghetti Pie
Gluten Free
Makes 4 slices (I ate two)

1 package Miracle Noodles
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes, divided
1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup assorted sliced vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc)
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Rinse and drain noodles well. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and dry any excess liquid from noodles. Cut noodles into spaghetti-length pieces.

3. In a round baking dish or shallow pie dish, combine noodles, egg, diced tomatoes, and 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes. Add in basil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

4. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until firm.

5. Remove dish from oven and spread with remaining 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella.

6. Return to oven and bake until cheese has melted, 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Nutrition Information--approximately 65 calories per slice

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Butternut Squash Gratin

101 Ways to Use Squash
'Tis the season for butternut squash so tonight's recipe was another way to use the miraculous vegetable. This recipe provides a fresh and delicious take on the traditional gratin as it uses a gremolata (an Italian herb paste) as one of the layers.The gratin is a little more labor intensive than my usual recipes but just prep all of the vegetables ahead of time and it will come together relatively quickly. Be sure to clean the leeks thoroughly.

Butternut Squash Gratin
Gluten Free
Makes 2 Side-Dish Portions

1 tbsp. golden raisins
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 cup leeks, cleaned and sliced (about 1 medium leek)
1/3 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced (about 1/2 of the narrow end on a small squash)
1/4 cup fresh gluten free breadcrumbs (see note)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a small loaf pan (or other small baking dish)  with nonstick spray.

2. Plump raisins in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in small food processor.

3. Add parsley, lemon zest, and garlic to food processor. Pulse until a rough paste forms.

4. Heat a medium skillet, coated with nonstick spray, to medium high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are limp. about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

5. Season squash with salt and pepper. Place half of the squash slices in prepared dish.

6. Cover squash with leeks and half of the raisin/parsley mixture. Layer the remaining squash on top. 

7. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake until squash is very tender, about 35 minutes.

8. Combine breadcrumbs with the remaining raisin/parsley mixture and sprinkle over squash. Spritz with nonstick spray. Bake, uncovered, until golden about 10 minutes.

Note: To make breadcrumbs, tear gluten free sandwich bread into chunks and process in food processor.  1 slice= approx. 1/2 cup

Tandoori Turkey Burgers

Brightly Colored Burgers
Tandoori Turkey Burgers, a recipe from Joy Bauer, are the perfect marriage between the American burger and Indian spices. Despite only taking minutes to put together, they are very flavorful thanks to the bold seasonings and cooling yogurt raita.

Tandoori Turkey Burgers
Gluten Free
Serves Two

Carrot Raita-
1/2 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1.5 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 lb lean ground turkey
 2 gluten free hamburger buns

1. To make the raita- mix the grated carrot, yogurt, garlic powder, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the burgers.

2. Preheat a grill or indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Liberally coat the cooking surface with olive oil spray.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and all the seasonings. Add the ground turkey and mix thoroughly until the seasonings are evenly distributed. Form into two, even patties.

4. Place burgers on the grill and cook for five minutes. Mist tops of burger will olive oil spray(to prevent sticking on the second side) and flip them over. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through.

5. Plate burger on bottom half of a bun and than spoon half of the raita on top of the burger. Top with the other half of the bun.

Nutrition Information--approximately 300 calories per serving

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mediterranean Mahi-Mahi

Mouthwatering Mahi
Mahi-Mahi can be a pretty bland fish if you don't add in some flavor but this recipe certainly adds plenty thanks to the sauce. A combination of  olives, capers, peppers,tomatoes and spices give the sauce a great kick. The fish is smothered in the tasty Mediterranean sauce than  roasted at a high temperature so it stays super moist.  I got the idea for this dish by combining a recipe from Eating Well and a recipe from Rachael Ray ( I took the best parts of each!).

Mediterranean Mahi-Mahi
Gluten Free
Serves Four

1.5 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp anchovy paste
3 tbsp. chicken broth
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups diced tomatoes, lightly drained
8 Kalamata olive, pitted and diced
2 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
2 halves jarred roasted red peppers, diced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper
1.25 lbs. Mahi- Mahi, skinned

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add anchovy paste and garlic and let simmer for for 30 seconds, stirring often. Stir in tomatoes, olives, oregano, lemon zest, parsley, capers, and roasted red peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer while fish is prepped.

3. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Season fish with salt and pepper and place in casserole dish in a single layer. Spoon tomato mixture over fish (pour any extra liquid on top). Bake, uncovered, until fish is cooked through, 14-17 minutes.

Nutrition Information--approximately 250 calories per serving