Thursday, July 28, 2011


Tonight's recipe is less about the delicious grilled chicken & broccoli I made yesterday & much more about my favorite dip: hummus!

The basis for this recipe came from Joy Bauer's book Slim & Scrumptious. Love her book, there are a lot of great alternatives!

Healthier Hummus
Serves 2-4 (depending on how much you love hummus)

1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, rinsed & drained
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 + plain yogurt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/8 - 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt & garbanzo beans to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula. Slowly pour in the olive oil while blending. Transfer to a bowl & enjoy with whole wheat pitas, carrot & celery sticks, or substitute for mayo on your sandwich.

Sometimes the yogurt takes a little more or less yogurt to get a good, smooth consistency. Add more as necessary. Use more or less olive oil depending on just how low-calorie you'd like your hummus.

The super but not so secret ingredient to hummus is tahini sauce -- a paste made from sesame seeds. It happens to be higher in calories, which prompts the yogurt substitute. It does, however, make a big difference on flavor. You can use it sparingly along with the yogurt if you like. Tahini is so good its hard to pass up!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Couscous & Lentil Salad

A little out of the box today -- I have been wanting to try some different salads with grains & this is what came from the depths of my mind. This is an easy recipe to adjust, just use what veggies sound good to you! Substitute beans, legumes, or edamame for the lentils or bulgur, rice, or quinoa for the couscous.

Couscous & Lentil Salad
Serves 2

1 cup couscous
1 cup lentils, rinsed & drained
1 medium onion
2 medium carrots
1/2 pound ground turkey, cooked
handful each fresh thyme & oregano
2-3 cups water

Cook the couscous according to the directions on the package. Some suggest adding butter & oil, but you can keep it simple by just adding a pinch of salt.

Heat about 2 teaspoons olive oil in a saute pan & add the lentils, stirring often, about 5 minutes until they begin to brown a little. Add onions & cook until they are tender, about 5 more minutes. Add carrots and 1 cup of the water. Slowly add the water, allowing the sauce to cook down, about 20 more minutes. Stir in the turkey and cook through, 2-3 minutes more.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, stirring in the thyme. Add oregano to lentils just before serving over the couscous. Mix it all up in your bowl & enjoy! Can be served hot, at room temp or chilled.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cooling off & a little comfort food

So we all know that it is ridiculously hot outside. I'm sure the last thing you want to do is cook up a hot meal in a hot kitchen.

I love salmon salad sandwiches, but had a bit of a twist on Monday. Turn a sandwich into a salad & it makes for a cool & protein-packed summer dinner.

Salmon Salad
Serves 2

1 can boneless salmon
1/4 - 1/2 cup plain yogurt
salt & pepper
garlic & onion powder

Stir the salmon & yogurt together, breaking up the larger pieces of fish. Season with spices to taste. Serve with cool cucumber slices & a handful or two of spinach.

Ohh but its summer & BBQ sandwiches are so delicious. This meal definitely qualifies as comfort food in our house!

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Serves 2

2 chicken breast cutlets
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
garlic & onion powder

Heat a little spray oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions & cook with a little salt until they begin to caramelize. Add chicken & cook until browned.

Stir in BBQ sauce (the hubby loves KC Masterpiece, but Curly's is my favorite) & sprinkle on a little garlic & onion powder to taste. Cook until the chicken is done, 10-12 minutes total. If your sauce gets a bit too think for your preference, you can always add a bit of water as it cooks.

Serve your sandwiches over toasted whole wheat buns with cheesy mac. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jerk Chicken & More

Finally, some jerk chicken! Jerk is a spicy Jamaican spice mix with a great kick. No jerk pit here, but a fast way to enjoy different flavors.

Jerk Chicken
Serves 3-4

1 roasting chicken
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 lime
2-3 tablespoons Jerk seasoning
olive oil

You can grill or roast your Jerk chicken. To grill, just wrap the chicken in several layers of foil & secure tightly.

Rinse the chicken & pat dry. Using kitchen shears, cut down the back of the chicken and flatten, this will speed your cooking time. Tuck his wings back & lay on the foil or in a roasting pan or dutch oven. Drizzle a little olive oil over him & rub in the Jerk seasoning. Add onions around the chicken.

Roast at 400 degrees or over medium-high heat for about an hour or until juices run clear. Squeeze the lime juice over the chicken & let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving & serving.

Such an easy & delicious dinner! Great over rice with roasted asparagus. For a little extra zing in your rice, stir in a little fresh cilantro.

The garden is coming right along & I was able to make my first pesto of the year. So delicious! It called for one of my favorite summertime sandwiches, basil & Swiss grilled chicken.

Grill up a couple of chicken breast pieces, seasoning with salt & pepper.

In a blender or food processor, add at least one good handful of fresh basil, about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese & a squeeze of lemon juice. While the machine is running, slowly add in enough olive oil to thicken, between 1/8 & 1/4 cup. If you've added too much oil, you can always toss in a bit of fresh spinach to get the right consistency.

Spread on toasted bread and top with the chicken & a piece of Swiss cheese.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Hope everyone is having a fun & safe holiday! You might be able to extend your celebration with some of these recipes.

Best Burgers:
Serves 3-4

2 pounds ground beef, 85-93% fat free
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 t. ground pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1/2 t. parsley

Stir spices together in a small bowl. With your hands, mix the beef & olive oil, add spices and mix. Form 7-8 patties with your hands, handling the beef a little as possible. Lay patties in a prepared 8x8 or larger pan lined with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until the grill is ready. Grill over a medium-hot heat until desired doneness. Remember to let the burgers rest at least 10 minutes after grilling to allow the juices to redistribute.

Roasted Vegetable and Pasta Salad:
Serves 3-4
2 fresh corn cobs, buttered & wrapped in foil
1-2 small-medium onions
1 bell pepper
3 cups whole wheat pasta
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium-large carrot, chopped or julienned
garlic powder
salt & pepper

This doesn't really look like pasta salad, but it the beginning. Roast corn cobs, onion & bell pepper until charred & aromatic.

Toss the pepper in a paper bag to sweat it out for a bit. Meanwhile, cook 3 cups whole wheat pasta according to directions. In a large bowl, juice the lemon & add salt, pepper & garlic powder. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Toss in pasta & carrot.

When the veggies are done on the grill, give them a few minutes to let them cool before chopping. Roughly chop the onion & cut the kernels from the corn. Quick tip for the corn: using a small bowl overturned in a medium bowl, stand the cob up on the smaller bowl & cut down the cob to remove the kernels. Peel the skin away from the pepper & dice. Add to pasta mix & stir to combine. Pasta salad can be served at room temp fresh from the grill or chilled.

The best part of my barbeque-swiss burger was the sauce wasn't necessary to make the burger moist. So delicious!

Keep an eye out for a jerk chicken recipe later this week!