Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Want to spice up your evening? This dish'll do the trick! Thanks to Holly, who sent the recipe of her husband's favorite dish to be "tweaked" into a healthy, nutritious meal she'll feel great about serving.

1 pound chicken breast, trimmed of all fat
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 10 oz. can tomatoes and green chilies
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper – optional
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 cup fat-free refried beans
3 low-fat, high-fiber whole wheat tortillas
½ cup Mexican-blend cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut raw chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Dust with flour. Add to saucepan lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Drain juice from tomatoes and green chilies into the pan. Add all seasonings. Sauté five minutes, or until chicken is opaque. Add onions, peppers and tomatoes and green chilies, then cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until veggies are tender. Meanwhile, lightly mist a 9-10” casserole dish with cooking spray. Lay two tortillas in the dish and up the sides, slightly overlapping. Spread one cup of fat-free refried beans over tortillas. Spread chicken mixture evenly over the beans. Lay the third tortilla on top of the chicken mixture, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and juices bubble. Serve with a small side of Mexican rice (yellow saffron rice cooked with ¼ cup of tomatoes and green chilies) and fresh orange wedges for a delicious meal. Serves four. Counts as protein, slow carb and fast carb.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Need a quick lunch or dinner idea for two? Four? More? This hearty soup and side easily doubles—or triples—and can be on the table in a flash. (Easy to pack for lunch the next day, too)!


1 15 oz. can no-salt-added black beans (do not rinse)
1 10 oz. can tomatoes and green chiles
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup fat free sour cream, plus two teaspoons for garnish
1 teaspoon 40% reduced sodium taco seasoning
2 Tablespoons reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend

2 (one each) whole wheat, high-fiber, low-carb tortillas
½ teaspoon 40% reduced sodium taco seasoning

Set oven to broil. Chop onion and place in medium saucepan. Add juice from tomatoes and sauté until onion begins to soften. Meanwhile, cut tortillas into quarters. Place on broil pan lightly misted with non-stick cooking spray, like Smart Balance Omega-3. Lightly dust with ½ teaspoon taco seasoning. Place under broiler for 3-5 minutes. Now, add beans and tomatoes to onions in saucepan. Stir in ¼ cup fat free sour cream and 1 teaspoon taco seasoning. Stir well and bring to a boil. Remove tortilla chips from oven, turn over, and return to oven. Turn the oven off and allow tortilla chips to “toast and dry” in the hot oven, approximately three minutes. Ladle soup into two bowls, topping each with a tablespoon of cheese and a teaspoon of sour cream. Serve with hot tortilla chips. Counts as protein (black beans, tortillas), fast carb (sour cream, tortillas), and slow carb (beans, tomatoes).

Besides the fact that they really taste much better, homemade baked tortilla chips (when using the whole wheat, high-fiber, low-carb tortillas) add as much as five additional grams of protein per tortilla (four large chips). Their high fiber content is more filling than bagged tortilla chips. We like LaTortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber Original Whole Wheat tortillas, which have seven grams of fiber and five grams of protein per tortilla. Fiber and protein are important factors in weight loss.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Salisbury Steak & Onion Gravy

Every good cook needs a comfort food recipe to nurture the spirit, as well as the body. Here’s one you can feel good about serving to your family, because it’s low in fat, calories and sodium.

INGREDIENTS for steaks
1 pound very lean (93% fat free) ground beef
½ Tablespoon ground horseradish (not horseradish sauce)
½ Tablespoon coarse ground mustard
½ teaspoon salt-free all purpose seasoning (like McCormick’s)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS for onion gravy
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 can low-sodium beef broth
1 Tablespoon corn starch
½ Tablespoon ground horseradish

Set oven on broil. Pour a small amount of water in the bottom of your oven’s broil/grill pan to prevent splattering and make clean-up easier. Mix all steak ingredients together in a small bowl. Form four oval-shaped patties, approx. 1/4” thick. Broil five minutes in oven, then turn and broil for five more minutes, until browned throughout.

Meanwhile, sauté onions in a skillet lightly coated with non-stick spray. Mix cornstarch with about a quarter-cup of beef broth in a small container with lid, and shake until well-mixed. Add horseradish, and shake again. When onions have softened, pour remaining beef broth into skillet, then stir in cornstarch and horseradish mixture. Add ground black pepper to taste, if desired. Stir over medium heat until thickened.

Pour onion gravy over Salisbury steak patties. Serve over yolk-free egg noodles, wild rice or smashed, boiled red potatoes. Add edamame seasoned with lemon pepper, or green beans as a healthy side dish. Counts as fast carb (noodles or rice), slow carb (veggies) and protein (steaks and gravy). Serves four.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Tired of the same old eggs and cold cereal for breakfast? My friend Bethany insisted that I wake up your sleepy taste buds with this delicious, filling breakfast that’ll keep you running strong through the busiest of mornings.


1 20-oz. package of southwestern-style refrigerated shredded potatoes, like Simply Potatoes
½ cup egg-white blend, like Egg Beaters
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt-free seasoning
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ green pepper, seeded and chopped
½ small onion, chopped
4 strips pre-cooked bacon, microwaved, OR 3 turkey sausage patties, cooked and chopped
½ cup reduced fat shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat egg and egg-white blend together with seasonings. Pour over shredded potatoes in medium mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, microwave chopped onion and peppers approximately one minute, until slightly tender. Do not overcook. Add peppers, onions and bacon or sausage to the potato mix. Stir well. This should be wet, but not dripping. If it is too moist, transfer to a colander, and allow some of the egg mixture to drain out.

Transfer the potato mixture to a pizza pan or pizza stone misted with a light coating of cooking spray. Pat into a round pizza shape, approximately ½” thick. Bake for 18-23 minutes, until potatoes begin to brown around edges. Top with shredded cheese and return to warm over for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with chopped tomato. Cut into four large wedges and serve with fresh fruit. Counts as one fast carb (potatoes), protein (eggs and meat), and slow carb (veggies). Serves 4.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Who needs pizza delivery on speed dial, when you have this super-simple recipe at hand! Not only will you save calories and fat grams, but you’ll add fiber and nutrition to this soccer night staple. Pick and choose your favorite toppings from the list, below, but be sure to include a healthy dose from each topping category, in order to achieve a nutritional balance with your meal. Have the kids pitch in, and dinner will be served before the delivery guy can start his car!

1 12” prepared whole wheat pizza crust (choose one with at least 5 gm protein per serving)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste (not sauce)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried basil (fresh is fine, too)!
Dash sea salt

Meat toppings: Choose up to one cup
Turkey pepperoni
Turkey sausage patties, cooked per package directions and crumbled
Lean hamburger, fried, drained, rinsed in hot water, patted dry

Veggie toppings: Choose up to 1-½ cups
Sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned, drained & rinsed)
Chopped bell pepper, any color
Chopped onion
Thinly sliced Roma tomato
Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Canned artichokes, drained & rinsed
Pineapple chunks (unsweetened), drained

Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated/ground
Organic Italian shredded cheese blend

In a small bowl, mix tomato paste with spices and garlic. Spread over pizza crust, all the way to the edges. Dust with parmesan/Romano cheese. Top with meat(s), then veggie(s) of choice. Be sure to use the full servings, as outlined above. Top with approximately ½ cup of shredded Italian cheese blend.

Bake according to crust package directions, until cheese is melted and begins to bubble, approximately 10 minutes. Cut into six slices. Serves three (two slices each). Recipe easily doubles. Counts as fast carb (crust and cheeses), slow carb (veggies) and protein (meat).

Enjoy with unlimited garden salad with low-fat organic dressing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Orange-glazed Ham Steaks

Set the table before you begin, because this scrumptious dish will be ready to serve in only twenty minutes! With only three ingredients, this recipe will be your “go to” plan for hectic evenings when you simply don’t have time to “waist” in the kitchen. Low in fat and calories, but high on flavor, this is one the whole family will enjoy!

1 package of two smoked ham steaks, approx. ¾ pound total, ¼” thick
1 large orange
½ teaspoon organic agave nectar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Cut both ham steaks in half across the middle, making four steaks. Coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray (I like Smart Balance Omega). Sear steaks over medium heat until they begin to brown, about four minutes. While ham steaks are cooking, wash the skin of the orange and slice it in half. Set one half aside for garnish. Zest the skin of the other half of the orange into a small bowl. Squeeze the juice from this half into the bowl, and add the agave nectar. Turn the ham steaks over, then pour the orange juice mixture over the steaks. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for ten minutes, while you prepare side dishes. Do not cover the skillet.

Arrange ham steaks on a platter, then drizzle the reduced orange nectar over the steaks. Cut the remaining half of the orange into wedges or slices to garnish the steaks. One serving equals one ham steak slice per person, (approx. 3-5 ounces). Serves four.

Suggested sides:

Red potatoes, cut into chunks, boiled or steamed, seasoned with sea salt or your favorite salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper. (Fast-burning carb). One fist-sized serving per person.

Steamed sugar snap peas, no seasoning needed. Approx. ¾ cup serving per person. (Slow-burning carb).

Agave nectar is usually sold as organic, and it is also Kosher. It is naturally high in fructose and low in glucose, giving it a very low glycemic index—even lower than honey! Agave nectar is approximately one and one-half times sweeter than white sugar, meaning you’ll use much less, thereby reducing calorie intake. It dissolves easily, even in cold water, and will not solidify, giving it a long shelf-life. Agave nectar is all-natural, meaning it contains no chemical or processed sugars like sucrose, mannitol, high-fructose corn syrup, or maltose. It’s perfect for baking, cooking, using in coffee or tea, or even as a substitution for pancake syrup. Remember to always use less agave nectar than you would sugar or honey, as it’s much sweeter. You can always add more, to taste.