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Deceptively Delicious Chicken Cannelloni

Steve gets off work earlier than me and he came over the other night be help with garbage, then he challenged himself to make this dish from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious. He was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t read the direction for cauliflower puree closely enough. He didn’t steam the veg first and ended up having a difficult time pureeing it in the blender. In his defense, its not well laid out in the book. You have to go back and forth between pages for directions on how to steam, and then directions on how to purée, which is a little cumbersome if you haven’t made purées before. Anyway, when I got home I tried microwaving the puree but gave up because I couldn’t really tell if it was doing anything. We went on with the recipe as directed and it turned out pretty well I think. In the first couple of bites I could taste the cauliflower but got used to it. It may have been because it wasn’t cooked first, I’m not sure. Other than that, it’s a pretty basic dish but once Miss M. finally starts eating foods that are mixed together, I will give it a try again. (Sorry about posting such a mess of a dish but we nearly forgot to take a pic.)

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Chicken Cannelloni

8 whole wheat lasagna sheets ( 4×4 or 3×6 inches)

cooking spray

1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

3/4 cup cauliflower puree

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups jarred tomato sauce

1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Ahead of time: cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and steam for about 10 minutes. Whir in a blender or food processor for about a minute or two, with a teaspoon or two of water, until smooth.

Boil and salt the water for the lasagna sheets. Cook, drain and then place the lasagna in a bowl of cool water.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, ricotta, cauliflower puree, parmesan, garlic powder, and salt until the chicken is well coated.

Place 1 lasagna sheet on the cutting board. On the edge closest to you, spread out 1/4 cup of the filling so that it covers 1/3 of the sheet. With your fingertips, roll the lasagna into a tube (lift the edge of the pasta with the filling and roll). Transfer seam-side down to the baking sheet. Pour the sauce around the cannelloni but not on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes.

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Lighter Crockpot Beef Stew

I’m still trying to incorporate more healthy recipes into my repertoire and my friend Steve suggested we make two slow cooker meals during the weekend and share them so that we can both have healthy meals during the week. That way we don’t get sick of eating the same dish like 4 days in a row. Well, we had the best of intentions but he forgot to bring over his slow cooker. I had a major slow cooked beef craving so I decided to go ahead and make this stew. I must warn you, it’s not a quick and easy, dump it and leave it kind of a recipe. It takes a while to brown your meat, then you have to chop all the veggies and brown your mushrooms, which took way longer than the 5-7 minutes they stated in the book. I had everything crammed into one large skillet and it took forever for the mushrooms to sweat off their moisture and brown. After that’s completed you have to throw in a 1/2 cup of flour to make a kind of roux I suspect, but it’s not really possible to do when you’re only supposed to use 1 tsp of oil for all of this. There was not enough moisture to soak up the flour so I gave up and added the rest of the ingredients anyway. It all worked out in the end and it tasted pretty darn good! If I hadn’t made it myself I wouldn’t have known it was lower in fat. It’s even better the next day.

Source: “Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution”

Lite Beef Stew

Country Beef and Vegetable Stew

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds boneless chuck-eye roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms trimmed and quartered
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra as needed
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. After the meat has been cut into chunks, pat it dry with a paper towel and season all the pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the beef in two batches until it is well browned on each side, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Add the mushrooms and onions to fat left in the skillet, cover and cook until mushrooms are dry and browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Slowly stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and summer until almost completely evaporated, 5-7 minutes. Stir in one cup of broth, smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Stir in remaining 2 cups of broth, soy sauce, bay leaves, and 3/4 tsp salt into slow cooker,then stir in potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9-11 hours on low or 6-8 hours on high.
  4. Discard bay leaves. Stir in peas and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. (Adjust stew consistency with extra hot broth as needed.) Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Per 1 2/3 cup serving: 380 calories, Fat 6g, Chol 75mg, Carb 40g, Protein 34g, Fiber 6g, sodium 862mg

Low-fat Chocolate Icing + Homemade Icing Sugar

As I mentioned in my previous post, I made an awesome chocolate zucchini cake. Unfortunately, I ran out of icing sugar so I tried a homemade version in this recipe for low-fat chocolate icing. I don’t think I was able to grind my sugar enough using my blender. I’ve had it for a few years so maybe I need to sharpen the blades or something. I used the first recipe I came across but I should have known better. America’s Test Kitchen has  video on YouTube which used this formula – 1 cup of white sugar to 1 tsp cornstarch and after grinding, strain through a sieve. I’ve included this recipe below. Texture wise, in the sugar I made you could feel a few of the larger sugar granules. You can see the graininess in the cake pic. 😦 Taste wise, the resulting chocolate icing was pretty decent. A little sweet but a nice compliment to the not too sweet cake. I would definitely make it again, using store bought icing sugar!
Low fat chocolate icing

Low-fat Chocolate Icing

Yield: 2 cups
Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 7 tablespoons one-percent milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

Combine the powdered sugar and cocoa together in the food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the milk, butter, melted chocolate, and vanilla, and process until smooth.

homemade icing sugar

Homemade Icing Sugar

(powdered sugar/confectioners sugar)

1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp of cornstarch
Grind in a blender or spice grinder until it is transformed into a fine powder, at least one minute. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any larger sugar granules. Measure and use as needed.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins – Cooking Light

Sometimes when I’m particularly busy and running around town via public transit, it’s difficult to find a healthy snack. I can’t exactly bring a smoothie with me, and I find the acid in apples or oranges irritates my stomach and makes me feel hungrier. Protein bars are so expensive, so what’s left is whatever you can find at a coffee shop. Café muffins can be over 400 calories! That’s why I decided to make this little treat that could be either breakfast, snack, or dessert. A word of caution – because the oven is quite hot and they only bake for 15 minutes, every minute counts. I accidentally left them in for about an extra minute and the chocolate chips on top were just starting to scorch. They weren’t as moist as I would have liked, but they still conquered a chocolate craving. It’s a new family favourite. Little Miss M. loved them and I turned one into a cupcake with some whipped topping and sprinkles so she was a happy camper!

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate minichips, divided
Cooking spray

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine 1 cup water and next 4 ingredients (through egg) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in 1/4 cup minichips. Add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

3. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups, and coat liners with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup minichips evenly over batter. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information
Calories 191
Fat 7.6 g
Satfat 1.9 g
Monofat 3.9 g
Polyfat 1.5 g
Protein 3.1 g
Carbohydrate 29 g
Fiber 1.5 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
Iron 1.5 mg
Sodium 197 mg
Calcium 37 mg

Corn, Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole

I’ve been having some health problems lately starting with low iron. I had to get my blood rechecked last week and my iron is back up but I found out I now have high cholesterol. I’m not one for deep fried foods so I was kind of surprised. High cholesterol can also be hereditary and I’ve discovered both my parents and one of my sisters has it too, along with high blood pressure so that’s probably a contributing factor. They check 3 types of cholesterol: 1 good and two types of bad, one of which is influenced a lot by sugar. No surprise that it’s the highest! At least my good cholesterol is also high. But all of this means I have to watch my sugar and saturated fat. The whole “balance” thing needs to start swinging away from the desserts and towards healthier meals.
I went to the library and found this cookbook by Canadian author/entrepreneur Rose Reisman. She has her own healthy food catering company, and she’s often on Canadian TV shows like Cityline talking about healthy eating. I really like the information at the beginning of this book “Rose Reisman’s Family Favourites: Healthy Meals for Those Who Matter Most”. She uses a lot of common ingredients you probably already have in your fridge or cupboard, and most are quite easy to prepare. The first recipe I tried was this one for a vegetarian casserole. The only thing I’m not crazy about is that her measurements are so precise. Instead of one bell pepper or a can of beans she asks you to measure it out by the cup or spoonful, and I didn’t bother and it still turned out well. I purposely made my bland in the hopes that my 3 year old would eat it, but no such luck. Next time I’ll put the full amount of spices and I have a feeling it will be not too hot, and delicious. 🙂

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Corn, Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Serves 6  Make Ahead: Can be made up to a day in advance. Reheat for 10 minutes in a skillet.
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup canned corn, drained
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup brown rice
2 tsp minced jalapeño pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tomato sauce (can be store-bought spaghetti sauce)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.2. Lightly coat a large nonstick saucepan with cooking spray, add the oil and set over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the corn and sauté for 8 minutes or just until the corn begins to brown. Add the green pepper and sauté for 3 more minutes.

3. Add the stock, brown rice, jalapeño, chili powder, basil, oregano, black beans and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Stir in the cilantro.

4. Pour into an ovenproof casserole dish and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the dish is completely heated through.

Calories 226
Protein 7 g
Fat 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Carbohydrates 38 g
Cholesterol 6 mg
Sodium 480 mg
Fiber 5 gNutrition Watch: Jalapeños are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate heart function and blood pressure.

Lite Flourless Chocolate Cake

Now that I’m working full-time again I’ve been letting the blog slid a little so I apologize for the tardiness of this post. I actually made this cake for Thanksgiving last weekend. At first glance it looks intimidating because you need to separate the eggs and whip the whites, but once that’s completed, it’s not that complicated. Just be careful when separating your yolks. I did the first one perfectly but the second one the yolk broke and fell into the whites. If this happens you can no longer whip your yolks. I had some “Just Whites” on  hand so I used those. I found that they wouldn’t really whip to stiff peaks so I don’t recommend using them unless you’re desperate. Regardless, the cake seemed to turn out well. It’s incredibly chocolaty and not super sweet. The texture is similar to cheesecake. I topped each piece with low-fat cream cheese icing and it was quite nice.  My friend Mr. M came over the next day for dessert and he liked it and didn’t realize it was lower in fat. This cake makes a nice treat for anyone, regardless of your dietary goals. And as long as you check your ingredients, especially the sour cream,  to make sure they are gluten free, so is the cake.

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La Vida Mocha

(Flourless Chocolate Cake with a hint of coffee flavour)

1/2 cup evaporated 2% milk
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
3 oz (85 g) semi-sweet chocolate squares
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup light sour cream (not fat free)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups light whipped topping (optional)
3 cups sliced fresh strawberry (optional)
mint leaves (optional)
icing sugar (for dusting the cake)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Cut was paper to fit bottom of the pan, place on pan and spray once more.

In a sauce pan, whisk together evaporated milk, brown sugar and coffee and cook over medium heat until mixture is almost boiling and sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add chocolate and butter until melted. Transfer to a bowl and cool for 5 minutes.

Add cocoa powder, sour cream, yolks and vanilla to chocolate mixture and beat on medium heat until smooth. Set aside.
Thoroughly clean and dry beaters. Place egg whites in a bowl and add salt. Beat on high until stiff peak forms. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in three additions until no white streaks remain. Do not use mixer for this procedure.

Pour prepared mixture on the pan and back for 30-35 minutes or until cake has risen or top is dry.
Remove cake and cook on wire rack. When cool, run thin sharp knife on side of pan and remove sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

To serve: Invert cake on a plate, remove wax paper and flip back onto serving plate. Dust with icing sugar and serve slices of cake with fresh strawberries, whipped topping and min leaves, if desired.

Nutrition information: Calories: 187 Fat: 7.2 grams Sat. fat: 4.5 grams Protein: 4 grams Carbohydrate: 27 grams Fiber: 2.5 grams Cholesterol: 43 mg Sodium: 95 mg

Turkey Pumpkin Chilli

Although I made pumpkin cupcakes and pancakes I still had canned pumpkin leftover and didn’t know what to do with it. I knew I didn’t want to make anything else sweet because it’s not good for my diet, so when I was flipping through my http://www.toneitup.com recipes I was excited to find this one for turkey pumpkin chilli. I used turkey breast and crushed tomatoes instead of ground turkey with diced tomatoes and it still turned out well. (I think it would be a little better with the diced though.) I cut down on the spices a little to increase the odds my 2 year old would like it, and she did. She probably ate an adult sized bowl of it last night, which I’m so happy about because she’s eating veggies without even realizing it! I’m betting this would be a perfect way to use up leftover turkey from Canadian Thanksgiving, which is today but many people had their feast yesterday. I’m roasting a turkey breast tonight and making a lite flourless chocolate cake for dessert. Stay tuned!

(I’ll add my own photo later; I just wanted to get this recipe out there in case someone did want to make it for dinner tonight) 🙂

Turkey Pumpkin Chilli

1½ Tbs. virgin coconut oil (I used olive oil)
1½ cups onion, chopped
¾ green bell pepper, chopped
¾ yellow bell pepper, chopped
1½ cans, 6 oz green chiles, chopped
1½ large garlic clove, minced
1½ lbs. lean ground turkey breast
1½ cans, 10-11 oz diced tomatoes
1½ cans, 10-11 oz red kidney beans
1½ cups canned pumpkin puree
2¼ Tbs. chili powder
¾ Tbs. cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¾ cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp of cinnamon

First, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Next, saute the onion, peppers, green chiles, and garlic for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add in ground turkey and cook until completely browned. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin and bring to a simmer. Season with chili powder, cumin, sea salt, and pepper. Turn heat down to low and continue to let it simmer for 20 minutes. Mix in fresh cilantro and
stir in with plain greek yogurt and cinnamon right before serving. Voila! Your pumpkin turkey chili is ready for eight.

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