Simple Side Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

29 Aug IMG_0673

So, I feel sort of silly even listing this as a “recipe” because it’s so stinking simple.  But, I guess it’s the contribution of the homemade, very low calorie dressing that makes it legitimate for me.  I hope you guys enjoy.  Keep in mind here, that I only feel like I need a little dressing on a salad these days.  Some folks may want more dressing, so I’ve added some additional info on how to get more dressing for not too many more calories.  This recipe is for 1 side salad.

Ingredients:

  • Romaine Lettuce, 2 cups chopped
  • Red onion, 2-3 TBSP chopped
  • 1/4 of a medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (you can peeling and seeding, but I don’t like eating peels or seeds in my cukes)
  • 1/4 of a medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • about 1/8 tsp of Italian seasoning (herbs like oregano, basil, etc)

Directions:

Add all veggies to a bowl.

Use a small container to mix together oil, vinegar, and Italian seasoning.  You’ll see that I’ve decided to use a children’s medicine spoon.  It holds the ingredients perfectly, helps you to measure them, and pours easily.  Just place your finger over the top and shake until everything is combined. If you’re using a tiny bowl instead, you may have difficulty whisking such small amounts together, but give it a go anyway. I have faith in you.  (but seriously, if you have one of these spoons… so awesome)

Makes 1 side salad

Salad Only: 30 calories

Salad with dressing as shown: 75 calories (1 ww points plus)

Want more dressing? Use 1 more teaspoon of vinegar for only 5 more calories. If you add more oil, it’ll be 40 calories per tsp.


  

Louisiana File Gumbo

22 Aug IMG_0564

I recently took a trip to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and I was inspired by all the delicious food they had to offer.  I loved the rich and distinct flavors, which can come with a high caloric price tag.  So, after returning home, I decided to try my hand at a Cajun Classic:  File Gumbo (skinny style).  Here are the results of my adventure into Cajun cooking.  I actually found it to be quite satisfying, and even tastier than what I had in the New Orleans restaurant, but a little time consuming (i guess those rich flavors take some time to develop!).  I hope you enjoy. Just remember, Cajun food is spicy, and this is no exception. My littlest kiddo opted out.  One last thing, if you like your gumbo souper (this was thick) use another can of broth, and 1 1/2 tbsp file. (adds about 15 cal per serving).

Editors Note:  If you liked this, try out my Jambalaya

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 Can of chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 TBSP light Butter
  • 14 cup Flour
  • 1 package of turkey smoked sausage, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon creole/Cajun seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups frozen, cooked, peeled shrimp
  • 1 TBSP file powder (see pic below)

Directions

  1. Put the chicken in a pot and cover with water. Bring the chicken to a boil, and boil for about 7 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pot. When the chicken cools enough to handle, chop or shred it into bite sized pieces and set it aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat and add oil.  Once oil and butter mixture is heated, begin your roux by adding in the flour. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until your roux mixture is medium brown.
  4. Add the sausage , onions, pepper, and garlic and stir all ingredients together. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth, diced or shredded chicken, and salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, and bay leaves.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for one hour, uncovered.
  7. Stir in Shrimp and continue to simmer about 3 minutes for shrimp to heat up.
  8. Remove from the heat, Remove Bay Leaves and stir in the file powder.   Let the dish stand for 5 minutes.

I served this with 1 3/4 cups of gumbo, and 1/3 cup of mixed grains (brown rice) but you could eat it by itself, or with white rice if you prefer.  This added about 107 calories (not included in the calorie count for this recipe)

Makes 4 servings, about 1 3/4 cups each= 450 Calories

Appx 11 weight watchers points plus per serving

Roux plus veggies and sausage

    

Open Faced Breakfast Sandwiches

21 Aug IMG_0552

Tonight my family asked for breakfast for dinner (which is not unusual in this house).  I wanted to do something a little different, so we went with Open Face Sandwiches.  I know that this recipe calls for packaged instant gravy (GASP!) which is almost a deadly sin in the American south (and in my home particularly).  I chose to go this route for 2 reasons.  1. Packaged instant gravy is much lower in calories than homemade white gravy, and 2. it’s easier, and on a weeknight, time is precious.  I used some pretty specific brand name ingredients here, but i’ll list the calorie counts for what i used, in case you’d like to use an alternative brand, or these items are not available in your area.

I usually like to stay around 250 calories or less for breakfast, so this works better as a lunch or dinner option for me. However, you could lower the calories by using 2 slices of canadian bacon instead of sausage, or using only egg whites.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Light (100 calorie) English Muffins
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 8 chicken or turkey sausage patties (I used chicken sausage at 120 cal per 2 patties)
  • 1 envelope of white country gravy (I used Pioneer at 45 calories per 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions: 

  1. Cook sausage patties according to directions on package.
  2. Prepare gravy according to instructions on packet. Stir in salt.
  3. Mix eggs and egg whites together and whisk until blended.
  4. In a large skillet, spray non stick cooking spray, and scramble your egg mixture on medium heat until eggs are done. Season eggs with salt and pepper if you wish.
  5. While eggs are cooking, split your english muffins and toast them all in the toaster, or on broil in the oven.
  6. To assemble sandwiches, place 1 muffin top, and 1 bottom on each plate.  Top each muffin with a sausage patty.
  7. Divide eggs evenly between each of the 8 muffin pieces.
  8. Top plate with 1/3 cup of gravy, split evenly between the 2 muffins.

Makes 4 servings= 365 calories per serving

Approximately 9 weight watchers points plus per serving.


Curry chicken

11 Aug IMG_0469

I love Indian food, but my husband doesn’t. Long story shirt, we’ve never been to an Indian restaurant in the 9 yrs we’ve been together. I figure my only chance at winning him over with Indian food was to start at home, so here is our low cal curry.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tsp curry
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 potato, medium sized

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet, and sautéed onions and garlic for about 3 min.

2. Stir in curry, garam masala, salt, and cumin and stir until incorporated with onions.

3. Add chicken and brown on both sides (about 3 min per side) stirring onion mixture around to keep from sticking/burning.

4. Add water, coconut milk, tomato and potato (peeled and diced).

5. Cover pan and Cook on medium about 15 min, covered.

6. Stir mixture and remove lid. Continue cooking about 20 min uncovered.

7. Remove chicken thighs and shred/chop the meat. Return to pan and stir in. Continue cooking until liquid has cooked down to a thick sauce, or a consistency you prefer.


 Divide into equal servings of 4 or 5. Serve with rice (not included in calorie count shown here)

Editors Note: if you liked this, try my chicken tikka masala

5 servings= 277 calories per serving

appx 7 weight watchers points plus

4 servings= 346 calories per serving

appx 9 weight watchers points plus

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

10 Aug IMG_0460

This is one of my Daddy’s favorite things.  I had never made it before tonight, but I’m glad I tried it out, because it was a hit.  If you like the traditional version, I think you’ll love this low calorie alternative.  Not too difficult, but a bit time consuming since you have to let the eggplant sit to draw all the moisture out.  Very delicious.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • Salt
  • 1 Cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded paremsan cheese (the shreds, not the powder)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 cup homemade marinara or Prego Light Smart Sauce
  • 1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Wash and dry eggplant, and slice it into 1/2 inch slices (they should be round).  You should have about 20 slices.

Lay sliced eggplant out flat on a paper towel, and sprinkle both sides of each round piece liberally with salt.  Cover with a 2nd paper towel.  Let the eggplant sit for 20 min.  The salt will draw the moisture out of the eggplant. Don’t skip this step :)

In a shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese.

In a separate shallow dish, mix egg whites and water.  Whisk until they are well combined.

Once Eggplant is done resting on the paper towels, wash each slice off and pat dry.

Dip each slice of eggplant into egg wash, and then press down into breadcrumb mixture, covering both sides with breading.

Place eggplant slices in a single layer on 2 baking sheets which have been sprayed with non stick spray.

Bake on 450 for 20 minutes, flipping each slice halfway through cooking.

Top each slice with about 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce, and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the slices evenly.

Return to oven and bake an additional 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Makes 5 servings.  1 serving= 2 slices of eggplant (or 1 large slice and 2 little slices)

258 Calories per serving

Appx 7 weight watchers points plus per serving


  

Baked Eggplant Rollatini

10 Aug IMG_0456-0

This dish basically makes a manicotti using eggplant instead of noodles.  It was delicious.  I mean, it was super delicious, and so low in calories that I can definitely see this returning to my dinner table sooner, rather than later.  Even if you’re not sure whether you like eggplant, you should give this a try.  It takes a little time, but it’s worth it. Don’t skip the part about letting the eggplant sit with the salt on it, or you’ll end up with a watery finished product.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 smaller Eggplants or 1 very large eggplant
  • salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of homemade marinara or Prego LightSmart Sauce
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 container (15 oz) part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (the shreds, not the powder)
  • 1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Wash and dry eggplant, and cut off the stem end.  Use a mandolin slicer to slice the eggplant longways into about 1/4 inch thick slices (your slices should be sort of oval shaped, not round).  You want to keep the 16 best slices for your dish and discard the rest.
  2. Spread out several paper towels, and spread the eggplant slices out in a single layer on top of the paper towels.  Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt, flip them over, and sprinkle the other sides with salt as well.
  3. Place another layer of paper towels on top of the eggplant, and let them sit for about 15 minutes.  You will notice the paper towels will become wet as the salt draws the moisture out of the eggplant.
  4. Pat the eggplant dry, and lay them flat in a single layer on 2 baking sheets, lined in parchment paper.
  5. Bake on 450 for 8 minutes.
  6. While the eggplant is baking, stir together in a medium bowl: Ricotta, garlic, salt and pepper, egg white, and parmesan cheese.
  7. Spray a 9×13 glass pan with nonstick spray, and pour 1/2 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom.  Cover the bottom of the pan evenly with sauce.
  8. Once your eggplant is out of the oven, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture onto each one, and roll it from the bottom up.  Roll it loosely so you don’t press all the filling out.
  9. Line eggplant rolls up in 2 rows, placing them seam side down in the baking dish (on top of the marinara sauce).
  10. Cover the dish with the remaining sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, and cover the whole pan in foil.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 4 servings of 4 rolls each= 300 calories per serving

Each “roll” is 75 calories if you choose to eat less than 4.

Appx 5 weight watchers points plus per serving!


  

Chocolate Brownies with strawberries and cream

8 Aug IMG_0398

This recipe definitely satisfied a craving for chocolate, and although they are made in a cupcake tin, they are more like brownies than cupcake.  Delicious little round brownies :)  The addition of strawberries and cream was a yummy one that I’d recommend. It really bulks up this little guy so you feel like you’re having a real, full sized dessert, without many calories.  Enjoy.

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp splenda brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp melted light margarine or butter (50 cal per tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions: 

  1. In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients.  In a smaller bowl, mix all wet ingredients.
  2. Mix wet and dry ingredients together, and stir until well mixed and not too lumpy.
  3. Divide batter between 10 cups in a standard muffin tin (no liners). Spray tin well with non-stick spray first.
  4. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes.  Let cool 5 min before serving.

 

Makes 10 servings= 97 calories per serving

appx 2 weight watchers points plus per serving

 

1 brownie, served as seen here, with 4 large strawberries, cut into quarters, and about 5 tablespoons of fat free reddi whip=

140 calories

 

 

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