Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken & Mushroom Bolognese

  • 1 (9 oz.) package fresh fettucine
  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 small celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb. ground skinless chicken breast
  • 1 (10 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2. tsp. freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1 cup prepared fat-free marinara sauce
Makes 4 Servings (1 1/4 cups per serving)
  1. Cook the fettucine according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery; stirring, until the onion is golden, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the pasta to the Bolognese sauce and toss, adding enough of the reserved cooking water to moisten the sauce, if needed.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW in 20 Minutes Cookbook. This was a nice treat for a change. I was craving Italian food and was cleaning out the refrigerator at the same time and this recipe looked too good to pass up. This was a delicious dinner and a compliment to Italy. Plus, this dinner was tastier than takeout and just as good as what you would order at your local Italian restaurant. You can use any kind of pasta in this dish and your dish will still be delicious. If you're strapped for time, put the onion, celery and carrot in a food processor and then put them in the skillet. I highly recommend adding a touch of basil and oregano to the Bolgnese mixture because basil and oregano add such aromatic flavors to Italian cooking. I also recommend adding a touch of dry red wine to the sauce because wine always makes things taste better. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Whole-Wheat Avocado Bread

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup granular sugar substitute
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt or 1 % buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Makes 10 Servings (1 piece per Serving)
  1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar substitute, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the avocados, yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Lightly fold the mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be thick and chunky.
  4. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes our clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Store leftover bread, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. When I saw this recipe, I thought it was to be an accompaniment at a Mexican dinner. I was wrong. You can eat this bread any time of day and it's still moist and delicious. It is surprisingly sweet. moist and filled with nice flavors. It's like a tea bread but better for you thanks to the avocado. You can even make this bread into mini bread loaves and either wrapped tightly in plastic and put into the freezer or even put this into a bread basket and be given as a gift.

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Tortilla Soup"

  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14 1/2-oz.) diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Makes 4 Servings
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, and cayenne. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the broth and tomatoes and the juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and return to a simmer. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into 4 bowls and sprinkle with the cilantro.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. This soup is a  great way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle or get back on track to your goal weight. This Southwestern soup has bold flavors and is packed with heat. It smells and tastes so good it will taste like you cooked it for hours. I highly recommend adding 1 teaspoon of dried chili powder to the sop for an extra kick of heat. Plus, chili powder goes well when mixed with cumin and garlic for an authentic Southwestern flare. It's called "tortilla soup" because it has all the elements of a traditional tortilla soup except for the fried tortillas. This soup is so good you won't miss the fried tortillas. As for the olive oil, I highly recommend using one of 3 flavors: Lime-Infused, Chipotle-Infused or Garlic-Infused Olive Oil from the Imperial Olive in Williamsburg, VA. For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pommegranate, Pear, & Granny Smith Applesauce

  • 2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 Bartlett pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tbsp. agave syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1 small pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Makes 4 Servings (1/2 cup each)
  1. Combine apples, pear, pomegranate juice, agave syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer; cover and reduce heat to a low simmer.
  2. Stir occasionally until apples and pears become a puree, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning with lemon juice and cool.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. Fall is coming and who does not love homemade applesauce? This fruity applesauce is full of natural flavors and is so delicious. This is not your typical applesauce made from apples and lots of granulated sugar. The agave nectar syrup acts as a sugar substitute an adds more sweetness to the applesauce. The pomegranate juice add a little more tartness to the applesauce and the pears give it a nice variety. The vanilla also adds a touch of sweetness; I added the cinnamon and nutmeg because cinnamon and nutmeg always make any apple dish taste better. You can also use cranberry juice in place of the pommegranate juice and your applesauce will still be yummy. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chicken with Cremini Cream Sauce

  • 4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. small cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  3. Add the mushrooms, scallions, and remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, until the mushrooms have wilted, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, cream cheese, rosemary and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir until cream cheese melts, about 1 minute.
  5. Return chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and  still juicy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Divide the chicken and sauce evenly among 4 plates and serve hot.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. Whoever says fast food is not good for you has not yet tried this dish. This dish is what I like to call the alternative to fast food or takeout. This chicken dinner is packed with savory flavor and is so good you'll want to serve this whenever you have company for dinner. I loved the combination of cream cheese, chicken broth and rosemary mixed in with chicken and mushrooms. I added garlic to the chicken because garlic always makes everything better. You can always use white wine in place of the chicken broth and your sauce will still be flavorful. When you do have company for dinner, serve this  dish over a plate of noodles for a touch of elegance and flavor. 

Greens with Tomatoes, Herbs, and Toasted Pistachios

  • 2 cups nuts, pistachios, unsalted, shelled
  • 6 ounces salad greens, baby (6 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup  fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Spread pistachios on a baking sheet; toast until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine greens, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and mint. Add oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates, sprinkle with pistachios, and serve.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook. Here is a colorful salad that is quick, easy and filling. It's also perfect to eat on a hot summer day when you don't want to cook. You can use any kind of salad greens such as arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce, etc. and any kind of tomatoes such as baby heirloom, grape or currant tomatoes ad your salad will be delicious. You can  use white vinegar and a drop of lemon juice mixed in with the olive oil in place of the sherry vinegar and the salad dressing will still brighten your taste buds. The pistachios give the salad a nice crunch to it and are packed with minerals.
Recipe Image 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Goat Cheese & Arugula-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • 2 oz. soft reduced-fat goat cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 bunch arugula (3 oz.), trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
Makes 4 Servings
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the cheese and garlic.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a deep pocket. Stuff each pocket with an equal amount of the cheese mixture and the arugula. Press the edges of the pocket together to seal. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the broth, cover, and simmer for about 6 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through and still juicy. With a slotted spatula transfer to 4 serving plates. Serve hot.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. This is another delicious chicken dinner that's a great way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. I've had different variations and I must say this was the creamiest version. The goat cheese mixed in with the arugula make this so creamy. You can use spinach or any other mixed greens in this dish and it will still be yummy. You can also add some of your favorite herbs in the cheese mixture such as basil, oregano or parsley to add a little more flavor. You can also use white wine in place of the chicken broth or a combination of wine and broth as well. I highly recommend topping the chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto for an authentic Italian flare.