Thursday, September 29, 2011

Asian Basil Pesto

Asian Basil Pesto
Recipe found on
Makes 4 Servings

2 cups fresh Thai basil leaves
2 tbsp dry-roasted peanuts
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp salt
8 oz. spaghetti
16 oz. chicken, diced and salted

Cook spaghetti per package instructions. Drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta water. In the meantime, place all ingredients in a food processor, process until smooth. Add pasta water and process again. Heat large pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken, cook until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Add pesto and pasta. Stir 3-4 minutes until thoroughly mixed and heated through.

Nutritional Information: 417 calories, 43 carbs, 10 fat grams and 38 protein grams.

Review: Wonderful, nutty and flavorful pesto! I loved all of the Thai basil and what great flavor it gave (without the calories and high sodium from other sauces/mixes). It was super easy to put together with a small blender and ingredients we already had on hand - easy peasy! I highly recommend this. And note, it reheated well, but I did have to add a dash of water before microwaving, and a dash of salt to enhance the flavors that we re lost during reheating.
Thai Basil from  Austin's garden!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slowcooker Buffalo Chicken Mac

Slowcooker Buffalo Chicken Mac
Makes 4 Servings

1 pound chicken, raw
2 tsp minced garlic, jarred
4 tbsp Frank’s Red Hot Wings Sauce
4 tbsp Fat-Free Ranch Dressing (Hidden Valley)
2 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
1 cup fat-free milk
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheese
1 tbsp Frank's Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
8 oz. pasta (small shape)

Add chicken to slowcooker sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Mix garlic, Frank’s hot wing sauce, ranch dressing, milk, and parmesan cheese; pour over chicken. Cook on high for three hours. Remove chicken, shred it, and add back to slowcooker. Stir in cheese, frank's cayenne pepper sauce, hot sauce and noodles; stir until noodles are coated in sauce. Cook on high for 25 minutes until noodles soften. Top with diced green onions or blue cheese crumbles as desired.

Nutritional Information: 428 calories, 54 carbs, 5 fat grams and 42 protein grams.

Review: Great recipe! Loved that it didn't have any 'cream of' anything - nice sauce based on the milk. I will say that I used penne, and I'd prefer it with a smaller shape like macaroni. Next time! I think my favorite part was that the recipe was one pot - everything cooked in the slowcooker so it was easy peasy - tough to mess up. And the calories/fat grams were great for a filling serving.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Skinny General Tso’s Chicken

Skinny General Tso’s Chicken
Adapted from Coup De Pouce Magazine (as seen on Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, who saw it on La Table de Nana)
Makes 4 Servings

1/3 cup light brown sugar (5 tbsp + 1 tsp)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup water
2 tsp olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sesame oil
6-8 green onions chopped, plus more for serving
3 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
1/4 tsp each hot pepper flakes and sesame seeds (optional)
1 cup basmati rice, dry

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and water. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Dredge the chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess. Cook the chicken in the olive oil until browned. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Using a paper towel, wipe skillet clean. Add sesame oil, green onions and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds. Add sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer mixture for 2 minutes, or until sauce thickens a bit. Add chicken back into the skillet, toss to coat with sauce, and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds (if desired).

Nutritional Information: 441 calories, 65 carbs, 6 fat grams and 30 protein grams.

Review: Okay - yes, it's a bit high carb, but it made that thick, textured sauce you find in those little white square to-go boxes. Awesome. Plenty of sauce that went a long way - you could easily add your favorite Asain veggies - enough sauce to go around. I liked the extra breading, too - a little bit of cornstarch goes such a long way - good stuff! A new household favorite for sure - but next time i'll make sure to save some green onions for garnish - oopsie!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wontons

Buffalo Chicken Wontons
Makes 28 appetizers

12 oz. raw chicken
4 tbsp Frank’s Red Hot Wings Sauce
60 oz. Cabot 50% reduced fat jalapeno cheese (if you can't find this subbing for regular reduced fat cheese should be fine but this adds an extra kick!!)
4 tbsp Fat-Free Ranch Dressing (Hidden Valley)
2 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
28 Wonton wrappers (Nasoya)

Boil water. Once rolling, add chicken and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 7-8 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink. In the meantime, add hot sauce, cheese, ranch and parmesan to a bowl. Stir together. Remove chicken from water; drain any excess water on chicken until mostly dry. Add chicken to bowl and, with two forks, shred chicken finely while blending into sauce. Stir well. Refrigerate for 2 hours until mixture is thick. When ready to prepare, heat oven to 375. Lay out sheets of wax paper, and spread wontons across the surface until all are out. Using your hands, add clumps (about 2 tbsp) of chicken mixture onto each until all have the same amount. Roll each up (to roll, turn into diamond shape with point facing you; fold point over to other point, tucking in mixture; tuck sides in and flip over). Use small bowl of water to seal each with your fingers/water. Lay all on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Once all are on tray, spray tops with cooking spray. Cook for 18- 20 minutes until crispy.

Nutritional Information: Whole recipe – 1,332 calories, 153 carbs, 19 fat grams and 122 protein grams. 7 wontons each (for 4 people to split) – 334 calories, 38 carbs, 5 fat grams and 31 protein grams. Each single wonton – 47 calories, 5 carbs, <1 fat gram and 4 protein grams.

Review: LOVED. These were great, came together pretty quickly and went FAST. The boys loved them, and us girls had a couple, too, and they’re great. I told the boys they were low-fat/fat-free and they laughed. I don’t think they quite believed me. Oh well. These were great baked, still had a ton of flavor with the hot sauce/ranch and didn’t require dipping since the ranch was inside (still could have served with dip/fat-free dressing if you wanted to). I will absolutely be making these again – great bite-size poppers. Just note: they are SUPER hot out of the oven and need about 5 minutes to cool down. And yes, I will get a picture of the inside next time - sorry!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Black Bean Fiesta Burgers

Black Bean Fiesta Burgers
Makes 4 large burgers or 12 mini burgers for sliders

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed and given time to dry
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
1 tbsp minced garlic, jarred
1 egg
Taco seasoning packet
¼ cup salsa
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
(Sliders: 6 tbsp fat-free sour cream, divided; 12 small potato rolls)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Strain mixture. Then stir into mashed beans. In a small bowl, stir together egg, taco seasoning, salsa and hot sauce. Stir egg mixture into mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into 8 small patties. Place patties on baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes on each side.

Nutritional Information: one large pattie - 205 calories, 38 carbs, 2 fat grams and 9 protein grams; one mini pattie – 66 calories, 12 carbs, <1 fat gram and 3 protein grams. For sliders, adding potato buns and sour cream, each: 161 calories, 30 carbs, 2 fat grams and 7 protein grams. I had two mini patties on two potato rolls which each had ½ tbsp fat-free sour cream. This comes out to: 322 calories, 60 carbs, 4 fat grams and 14 protein grams.

Review: Loved them! They tasted kind of like Amy’s breakfast burritos – so much so that Austin suggested we take the big pattie and use it to fill a medium-size tortilla for breakfast burritos! Great flavor, love the fiesta flavor, and truly think that you could take the breadcrumbs down if you want to reduce the calories a bit – up to you. I’m a huge fan and love that it was so filling, but yet had no meat. New favorite for us – so glad we tried it! We even reheated them for breakfast and I found two to be a great, filling breakfast - fabulous!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creamy Slowcooker Pork Chops

Creamy Slowcooker Pork Chops
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from

1 pound pork chops, boneless medallions
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
8 tbsp all-purpose flour, seasoned with pepper, garlic powder and paprkia
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cups boiling water
1 tbsp minced garlic, jarred
10 tbsp fat-free sour cream

Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste, and then dredge in 6 tbsp seasoned flour. In a skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium heat, lightly brown chops. Meanwhile, boil water in microwave. Once boiled, dissolve bouillon cubes in water. Stir in garlic. Place chops in slow cooker, and top with onion slices. Pour sauce over chops and onions in crock pot. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours. Once done, add sour cream and stir. If still too thick, use cornstarch/cold water to thicken. Serve over egg noodles.

Nutritional Information: 452 calories, 58 carbs, 7 fat grams and 36 protein grams.

Review: If you like super soft, fall-apart pork chops in a creamy sauce you're good with this recipe! It was super creamy and I loved the softened onions - they added a lot. The first time I made it (sans minced garlic) I felt it needed something - so I added the garlic and it made the difference. I like a lot of flavor, and this was a great dish. I will say I could see how this would be good on the stove, too, but without the crockpot the onions and pork chops wouldn't be as soft. I also think you could put the pork chops in to the crock pot raw to cut out that step. I'm going to try that next time! Either way - yummy slowcooker dish!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Honey Lime Enchiladas
Makes 5 Servings
Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen CafĂ© (found on Stephanie Cooks)

1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup onions, diced
1 pound raw chicken tenders, not diced
6 tbsp honey
5 tbsp lime juice (juice from1 large lime)
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
10 small flour tortillas (La Banderita)
4 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, and onions. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet and shred it. Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Add 2 oz. cheese to chicken mixture. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with cream. Pour sauce on enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

Nutritional Information: 442 calories, 59 carbs, 7 fat grams and 35 protein grams.

Review: Loved. Austin loved more, he's a big lime guy, but I loved a lot, too. They have a distinct flavor with the honey mixed with lime, and I loved how cheesy and saucy they came out. I like the idea of a different enchilada, and to save time can easily see making this a casserole. I liked that it had flour instead of corn tortillas - mixed it up a bit! I also thought the serving was filling. Normally I do 4 or 6 servings, but 5 came out right to stay somewhat true to the original recipe, but not too over- or under-caloric for me! These will be made again, and I think they would freeze/reheat very well!