Sunday, June 4, 2017

Lemon Garlic Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Lemon Garlic Tilapia with Roasted New Potatoes and Vegetables
I've been seeing a lot of posts on social media about sheet pan dinners. The premise is easy and pretty darn smart, if you ask me. You choose a few vegetables, a protein, a fat, a few spices and/or herbs and flavorings and roast it all on one sheet pan. After reading several recipes here's what I came up with, Lemon Garlic Tilapia with New Potatoes and Zucchini. I know, there are green beans on that plate as well. They were actually leftover from a previous dinner, but there is no reason you couldn't roast them along with the rest of the dinner, If you like them well done, you could put them into the oven with the potatoes, for crisp tender, add them when you add the fish and the zucchini. Just be sure to place them in a single layer and add a little oil and salt and pepper to them You could also drizzle a a tablespoon of the Lemon Garlic sauce you made for the fish on them during the 2nd part of cooking if you wanted to.

This dinner is very Weight Watchers friendly too, Meaning low cal and low fat. The fish weighs in at 2 Smart Points for 4 ounces and the small new potatoes are 2 points each. I used a very little bit of butter, 1 T. butter for the entire dish and a little olive oil for the potatoes and zucchini.  My dinner weighed in at 10 points for a big plate of food! Fish plus 3 halved potatoes and plenty of zucchini and green beans. For the record, let me say that the plate shown belongs to my husband, who eats a little heartier than I do!

Try this. It's quick and easy and clean up is a breeze -- only 1 pan to wash along with measuring spoons and a measuring cup, all of which went into the dishwasher. Feeling lazy? Use some non-stick aluminum foil to cover the sheet pan. No clean up!

This could easily be doubled for a larger family, just use a bigger pan.

Lemon Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner
serves 2

2 Tilapia  filet about 4 oz. each
1 T. butter
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt
generous pinch of dried dill
1 large garlic clove, minced (about 1 tsp), divided use

8 new potatoes, scrubbed and dried, sliced in half
2 T. olive oil, divided use
1 small zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Make your sauce for the fish. Melt the butter in a microwave-able measuring cup. Stir in 3/4 of the chopped garlic and cook for 20 seconds to heat it through. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and dill or an herb of  your choice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a medium to large cookie sheet (use one with a good rim) toss the onions in 1 T. of the olive oil. 
Spread them out to cook evenly, cut side down. Like this:

New potatoes, cut side down.

Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, toss the zucchini with the other T. of olive oil. After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and turn the potatoes over and push them to one end of the pan. Sprinkle them with the remaining garlic and a little Kosher salt. Add the zucchini to the pan in the middle and the fish at the other end. Drizzle the garlic-lemon butter mixture evenly over the fish. Sprinkle fish and zucchini with a little salt and pepper. If desired, sprinkle a little dill or rosemary over the potatoes. I used dill this time, but since I grow rosemary, I'll probably use that next time. Here's the way mine looked when it was ready for the 2nd trip into the oven:

Dinner prepped and ready for 2nd part of the roasting process. 
Cook for the 2nd time 15 more minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Mine was perfect after that amount of time.  I sprinkled ours with some onion garlic chives from my garden for a little fresh green goodness. Parsley would work also, or leave that out all together. 

Enjoy! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Healthy Breakfast Frittatas





Healthy Breakfast Frittatas
I have been wanting to make some Breakfast Frittatas, or as we are more likely to call them in the south, Breakfast Muffins. I decided to name them Frittatas because many folks associate muffins with somethings sweet and these are definitely NOT sweet! They are savory and tasty, healthy, carb free and high in good for you protein. This recipe makes 12 individual frittatas. I ate 2 this morning, my husband ate one, but he had an English Muffin with his. I am trying to watch my carbs, my biggest healthy eating challenge, so any time I can get satisfied without eating bread, pasta or potatoes, I am happy!


These come together pretty quickly -- and the prep is relatively easy. I hear you can freeze these, but I have an idea ours will disappear within the work week, reheated easily in the microwave. Also, feel free to substitute the vegetables that you like. What I used here was what I had on hand on a Monday morning after a busy weekend, filled with friends, cooking and gardening. Next time I do this I think I'll try a mixture of spinach, onions and maybe a little feta cheese for something different. Broccoli, cheddar, onion and bacon would be good too. OH, and how about a Southwestern Style one, served with salsa? The possibilities are endless!  Stay tuned, I'll post what else I come up with!

And, Weight Watchers, these weigh in at only 3 Smart Points per piece! Win, win!! To keep the points at 3, don't alter the amount of cheese, eggs, milk, sausage and olive oil. The rest is "free" so you can play around with that to your hearts content! 


Healthy Breakfast Frittatas
makes 12 "muffins"

6 large eggs
1/4 cup 1% lowfat milk
8 ounces turkey breakfast sausage (I used Wegmans)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped roasted red pepper, packed in water
1 small can sliced mushrooms
2 ounces Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp 2% Cheese
1 tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Hot sauce to serve, if desired
Non-stick cooking spray (like Pam)

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up and crumbling it as you cook until browned with no pink showing. Remove the sausage to a paper plate lined with a paper towel to remove any excess fat. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Drain excess fat from the sausage. 


Add the olive oil and onions to the skillet. While the onions begin to soften, beat together the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and peppers to the onions in the skillet and saute' together for a few minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Spray your muffin tin thoroughly with non-stick cooking spray. Add the sausage, divided evenly to the the bottom of each muffin cup -- it's about a Tablespoon of sausage per cup. Add the veggies on top of the sausage, making sure there is a little of each vegetable in every cup. Lastly, gently pour the egg mixture over the sausage and veggies. I found it is about a scant 1/4 cup egg mixture to each muffin cup.

Bake for 22 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the "muffins" cool in the tin at least 5 minutes or they will break up. We liked ours served with a little hot sauce, but they were good without it too! Yummy!

Add a little hot sauce if you like a little heat! 

Healthy Breakfast Frittatas -- YUMMY! And only 3 WW SP per piece! 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pork Tenderloin with Apples

Pork Tenderloin with Apples


I found the original recipe for this on a Facebook video and thought that it looked interesting. You can watch it HERE . I liked the look of the dish but my slow cooker is OLD -- Really Old -- and won't accommodate a long piece of meat like a pork tenderloin. As well since we are now officially empty nesters as of August, 2 pieces of the roast even though on the smaller size, means a lot of leftovers! My husband has gotten better over the years about eating leftovers -- he used to hate them and turn up his nose at them, no matter what they were -- but asking him to eat something 3 or 4 times in one week is simply too much! Using only one pork tenderloin, a little over a pound in weight, made 3 generous portions. So dinner for 2 and lunch for one. Perfect!

The hasselback way of cooking something is all over the internet -- everything from apples, to potatoes to this pork recipe. It did indeed infuse the meat with a wonderful flavor throughout and was easy to do. All you really need is a nice, sharp knife. I added extra vegetables to the recipe, specifically onions, because I don't really think you should cook much of anything without onions or garlic or BOTH. I also changed the glaze a little bit, to better reflect what we like. I felt like the whole teaspoon of cinnamon called for in the original was just going to be too much. We thought 1/2 tsp. was just enough.  I loved the apple in the recipe and the glaze was DELISH! Served alongside braised cabbage and you simply can't beat the combo! Try this on a cool evening, it's a wonderful addition to my recipe rotation!

Pork Tenderloin with Apples
Serves 3 - 4
1 tsp. olive oil
1 pound + pork tenderloin
1/2 large apple, cored and sliced into 1/2" thick pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
16 baby carrots, washed or 1 large carrot, cut into 16 thick pieces
16 baby or "new" potatoes, washed

For the glaze:
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. honey
2 T. aged balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tsp. dijon mustard or 1 tsp. plain yellow mustard + 1 T. dry white wine
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of black pepper
pinch of Kosher salt
Whisk all glaze ingredients together and set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush a dutch oven or heavy baking dish with a lid, with olive oil. Toss in the onion, potatoes and carrots to make a bed for the pork. With a sharp knife, slice diagonally almost though the pork at 1" intervals, making sure to leave the roast whole -- don't cut all the way through. Put an apple slice into each cut, and place the roast onto the prepared bed of vegetables, like this:
Pork tenderloin, stuffed with apples, on a bed of root vegetables

Pour the glaze evenly over the meat and vegetables. Your dish should look something like this:

Pork tenderloin, glazed.
Cover the pan and bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. While the roast is cooking, prepare your side dishes. We loved this with cabbage and onions, sauteed with a little butter and olive oil. Roasted butternut squash would be a good compliment, as well, and you could roast it in the oven for the last 30 minutes of cooking the roast.

The finished dish is lovely, perfect for your fall dinner table:

Can you tell how much my husband LOVED this dinner? Hearty appetite, born from smelling the goodness all afternoon! 

I know you are going to enjoy this as much as we did! Happy Fall, Ya'll!



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chicken Parm with Zoodles


Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles
Have you tried zoodles yet? Zoodles are "noodles" made from zucchini. Since they are made totally from a vegetable, there are no carbs and virtually no calories, so are totally diet friendly. I've been using them in combination with Dreamfields pasta to cut calories and still enjoy a full portion size of "pasta". I received a spiralizer from my son and his fiancee' for my birthday in September and that's made this process oh, so easy! Mine is super easy to use and it came from Amazon and looks like this:

Find it HERE
This is easy to assemble and to clean -- it's top rack dishwasher safe. So far I've done zucchini and cucumbers, but I am sure there are more veggie noodles in my future.

The most recent occasion to use this little gem was to make a lightened up version of Chicken Parmesan. I found the recipe on the Cooking Light website, but as I always do, I changed it up just a little bit, to make it all my own. This recipe is a little trouble to make, but nothing you wouldn't want to tackle on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you feel like puttering a little in the kitchen. The key part to the calorie cutting is that the chicken is not fried, it is baked on a rack in the oven with a crispy Panko bread crumb crust. The trick of mixing the parmesan cheese with yogurt makes it creamy with out extra fat. So, next time you want some classic Italian comfort food, without the frying and pesky calories, try my Chicken Parm with Zoodles. (PS if you are following Weight Watchers, this comes in at 9 points.)

Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles
serves 4

1 T. plus 1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, divided use
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large can Cento San Marzano whole tomatoes (1 lb. 12 oz.)
1/3 c. dry white wine (I used Kendall Jackson Chardonnay)
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 T. non-fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets, lightly pounded to an even thickness
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. garlic powder
cooking spray
3 medium to large zucchini
2 oz. fresh, water packed mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
3 oz. Dreamfields Spaghetti

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the chopped onion. Saute' that for a few minutes, until it begins to soften. and add in all but 1 tsp. of the minced garlic. Cook for a few more minutes --- don't let the garlic start to brown-- and then add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or your hands as they go into the pot. Pour in the wine, salt and pepper and turn the heat up until the mixture begins to boil. Turn the pot down to simmer and let the sauce cook, uncovered about 30 minutes, allowing the liquid  to reduce and thicken. Turn off the heat, and add the fresh basil. Stir it into the hot sauce. Cover the pot to keep it warm.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooking rack over a cookie sheet and spray it with cooking spray. Pound the cutlets with the smooth side of a meat mallet (or something else heavy and smooth, like a rolling pin) between 2 sheets of parchment paper so that they are of a uniform thickness, about 1/2"thick. In one small bowl, mix together the yogurt and the parmesan cheese. In a pie plate, mix together the garlic powder and the Panko breadcrumbs. Spread one side of each chicken breast with about a spoonful of the yogurt mixture and place the coated side down into the breadcrumbs. While they are sitting in the pie plate, spread the other side of the cutlets with the rest of the yogurt mixture and carefully turn them over, to coat the other side with the Panko mixture. Place them on the prepared oven rack, like this:


Bake cutlets in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and proceed with the recipe. While the cutlets are cooking is a good time to make your zoodles. Follow the directions on your spiralizer or peel the zucchini thinly with a vegetable slicer. Place the zoodles on a double thickness of paper towels to draw the moisture out of the zucchini. Meantime, also bring a pot of water to a boil and get ready to cook the spaghetti noodles.


After the cutlets have baked, put about 1 T. of the warm sauce  you made earlier carefully on top of each cutlet, spreading it almost to the edges. You don't want to put on so much that it drips over the edges and spills all over the bottom of the pan. Drop the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.


Top each cutlet with 1/2 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese. Oven ready, your dish should look like this:


Preheat your oven to broil and position a rack close to the element as suggested by your manufacturer's instructions. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining 1 tsp. of olive oil and garlic. Cook a minute or two and add the zucchini noodles to the skillet. Stir them around, coating them with the oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to them. When they begin to wilt, cover the pan and turn off the heat.
Zucchini Noodles in a non-stick skillet
 Drain the spaghetti in a colander, do not rinse with water! Place the chicken cutlets under the broiler and broil until the mozzarella is melted but not browned, about 5 minutes in my oven. Mix the spaghetti with the zucchini noodles in the skillet and divide among four plates. Top each mound of pasta with  a bit more of the red sauce and one cutlet. 

Enjoy with a glass of nice, dry chianti and pretend you are in Italy. Say things like Pronto and Buon Appetito! Have fun! Mangia! 



Monday, September 12, 2016

Easiest Dessert EVER!

This has got to be one of the easiest desserts EVER! It's not only yummy, but pretty diet friendly and healthy too! I bought an Angel Food Bar Cake from the grocery store, sliced it thinly and sprayed it with cooking spray.  I'd also bought a cored fresh pineapple and sliced it thickly, dried it a little and sprayed that with cooking spray. After we'd cooked our dinner, I wiped up a spot on the grill, turned the grill up to high and put the pineapple on the lower element of the grill. Once some nice grill marks appeared, I turned it over. I then put the angel food cake on the grill and let it start to brown. That goes pretty quickly, so watch it carefully. I turned both the cake and the pineapple over and made sure the fruit was tender by sticking it with a fork. I removed everything from the grill, turned it off, and layered the cake, pineapple, a scoop of low fat vanilla ice cream and dropped on a few blueberries. YUMMY! Quick, easy, healthy and DELISH!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Baja Fish Tacos

Baja Fish Tacos, made with Tilapia and a heavenly sauce! 
We love fish tacos! I've made them before, but this is a new recipe that adds a little crunch to the crust of the fish without adding significant fat or calories. (See my other recipe HERE )  I found a recipe on the Weight Watchers website, but as I tend to do, I changed it up a little bit. I added cilantro -- which you can certainly leave out if you hate it, as some folks do -- and altered their suggested salad addition to more of a slaw. I also used tilapia since the store was out of Red Snapper when we did our shopping. Substituting the Tilapia for the Red Snapper also brought the price down quite a bit. The sauce that goes with this meal is really, really good! It would be great on its own as a dip! The sauce recipe came pretty  much verbatim from the website except I used fat free Greek yogurt because that is what I keep at home, instead of the low fat the original recipe used.

This meal was a WINNER! Give it a try when you want some authentic street food flavor without all those pesky calories! I halved the recipe since there were only 2 of us at home. We served it with black beans and brown rice. It was muy delicioso!

Baja Fish Tacos
serves 4
7 Smart Points as written, per 2 corn tortillas and 1/4 lb. of fish

Corn or Soft Flour Tortillas for Serving. We prefer corn. 2 Tortillas per person.

For the fish:
1 lb. Tilapia filets
1/2 c. Masa (corn flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Cooking Spray such as Pam

For the slaw:
2 - 3 cups shredded red cabbage
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
2 - 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
4 radishes, thinly sliced and cut into match sticks

For the Sauce;
2 c. plain fat free Greek Yogurt                                                        

3 T. fresh lime juice
2 pieces Chipotle en Adobo chilies, with a tsp. of juice

First, make the sauce. Puree all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. If you like "less spicy" only use one of the peppers. Set aside.

Make the slaw next. In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables, tossing to combine evenly. Add 1/2 cup of the Sauce and toss until well combined and sauce is evenly distributed. Chill the slaw and the sauce until ready to serve.

For the fish:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the filets into pieces like this:

Lay the filets out on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain any excess moisture.








In a large ziplock plastic bag, add masa and all the spices. Toss in the fish and shake to coat fish evenly. Place a rack over a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Lay the fish on the rack, shaking before placing to get rid of any excess breading.

Spray the fish, turn them over and spray them again with the cooking spray. Turn the oven setting to broil and place an oven rack about 2 inches below the broiler element. Broil the fish for about 5 minutes, remove pan from oven and turn the fish over. Broil another few minutes to crisp up the other side, about 3 - 4 minutes. Remove from oven and build your tacos. Layer the fish, about 2 pieces per tortillas, the slaw and a little more of the sauce, especially if you like some heat! Enjoy!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Gingery Beef Lettuce Wraps

Gingery Beef Lettuce Wraps
Here's another Asian style recipe, quickly adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe that I made for dinner last night. Believe me when I say that eating this feels NOTHING like dieting -- these lettuce wraps are full of flavor, texture and have the elusive "umami" we all hear so much about. I changed the recipe slightly, adding ingredients that upped the flavor. I keep most of these things on hand, because I love cooking this way! (See some more takes on lettuce wraps HERE and also HERE)

Once you've purchased the needed spices and condiments, you can create so many healthy meals. This is not difficult cooking so please don't be intimidated by the  number of ingredients. They are mostly inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store! So here we go -- the only ingredient I added that will add Smart Points to your total -- if you are "counting" -- is the Hoisin Sauce, which adds 1 point to the 3 specified by Weight Watchers. The Hoisin Sauce adds a richness and slight sweetness which interacts nicely with the salty soy sauce and the rice wine vinegar, which I added as well. I've also added Sriracha Hot Sauce, because we like things a little spicy, but leave it out if you don't. Use low sodium selections if you are sensitive to salt or have high blood pressure.

Gingery Beef Lettuce Wraps
4 servings

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
2 Tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 cups Bok Choy, thinly sliced
2 cups shiitake or white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, stems chopped
1 medium red pepper, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
Sriracha Sauce (may be omitted if you don't like spicy)
Lime wedges, iceberg or butter lettuce, cucumber pieces and fresh cilantro for serving

Wash 6 - 8 large lettuce leaves and chill in the refrigerator. Dice half a cucumber and cut up a little cilantro to top lettuce wraps. If you don't care for cilantro, use either fresh basil or mint. You  only need a little, the fresh herbs add some extra special flavor on the wraps!

Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and add the beef over medium high heat. Using a wooden spoon, break the beef apart and crumble it. When it begins to brown add the onion and ginger. Sprinkle over 1 T. of the soy sauce. Cook a 4 - 5 minutes and add the garlic. Saute' briefly to incorporate garlic, then add the red pepper, mushrooms and bok choy. Cook the mixture until the bok choy begins to wilt.  Stir in the remaining soy sauce, Hoisin sauce and rice wine vinegar. Squeeze Sriracha sauce over the top, if using, about 1 - 2 T. Cover the pan, turn down the heat and let cook for 5 minutes.

Gingery beef stir fry mixture
Put a lettuce leaf or two on a plate and top with 1/3 - 1/2 cup of beef mixture. Top with cucumber, herbs and a squeeze of lime. Squeeze on extra Sriracha if you really like spicy -- my husband did! Enjoy!