Friday, April 29, 2011

Roasted Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Dressing

What You'll Need:
1 c. quinoa, rinsed
2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth (msg-free is always good too)
1/4 c. red bell pepper, diced (approximately 1/2 of a medium sized pepper)
1/4 c. celery, diced (approximately 1/2 of a stalk)
1/4 c. red onion, diced (approximately 1/4 of a small onion)
1/4 c. black beans
1 1/2 Tbs. cilantro, minced
1 Tbs. green onion, chopped
1 Tbs. crushed black olives
2 large cloves of garlic, minced (approximately 1 Tbs)
1/8 c balsamic vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
dash of coriander powder
dash of cumin powder

What To Do:
In a dry frying pan, roast the rinsed quinoa over high heat (stirring frequently) for 3-4 minutes.  Add in the 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Once the quinoa boils, reduce the heat and simmer (medium) for approximately 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and the grains are soft and sprouted (spiraled).  Once cooked, remove from pan and place in a medium to large-sized bowl to cool slightly.

In a frying pan (you can use the same one if you want), heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the fresh minced garlic for about 1 minute, or just until it begins to turn golden.  Add diced onion and continue to saute for an additional 1-2 minutes. After a couple of minutes, add in the diced celery and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Remove sauteed mixture from heat and place in the same bowl as the quinoa.

Add in the bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, olives and black beans; toss well.

In a separate bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, coriander powder and cumin powder; whisk all together with a fork.  Pour over the quinoa mixture and toss well.

It tastes best when served chilled!

*You can add diced chicken to this as well to make it more filling - I haven't tried it yet, but I think a light honey-glazed, grilled and diced chicken breast might taste good

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thin Crust Taco Pizza

What You'll Need:
1/2 c. water
1 (1/4 oz) packet of rapid rise yeast
1/8 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c. reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c pizza sauce ( I use Trader Joe's)
1/2 tsp taco seasoning (mix into pizza sauce)
1/2 shredded lettuce
1/2 roma or a small tomato, diced

What to Do:
Preheat oven at 500.
Warm water in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or until slightly warmer than luke-warm.  In a bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and olive oil.  Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast if dissolved (will start to look frothy).  Gradually add in flour while gently kneading the dough.  Once a ball of dough is formed, let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes or until it rises (doubles in size).

 Roll out dough to about 12" (it will be very thin - about 1/4" thick) and place on a 12" round metal pan (I cover mine with foil to make cleaning up easy-- you can probably use a pizza stone too, I've never tried). Once the dough is on the pan, poke holes in the dough (to avoid air bubbles while baking) with a fork or pizza docker.  Bake in oven for 3 minutes (without toppings).  Remove from oven, top with sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Bake for another 4 minutes (cheese will just have melted and not yet started to turn brown). Remove from oven and top with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes -- you can sprinkle a little bit of extra cheese on top too if you want. Bake for an additional 3 minutes.

Quick Tips:
*The crust in this recipe is very thin and slightly crispy.  If you want a thicker or softer crust, increase the ingredients for the dough by half (i.e. use 1.5 times the amount called for) and follow the recipe as directed, the dough will roll out to be slightly thicker.
* If you prefer, you can substitute the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour
*You can add grilled or ground chicken to the pizza and it tastes pretty good as well

Cholesterol-Free (almost Fat-Free) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: approximately 40 cookies

What You'll Need:
2c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4c. brown sugar
1/4c. white sugar
1/2c avocado meat, mashed (about one med/large avocado)
1/2c applesauce
1 (3oz) box instant vanilla instant pudding
1/2c egg substitute
1/4c mini chocolate chips

What to Do:
Preheat oven at 350.
In a small sized bowl, combine the flour and baking soda together and set aside.  In a separate bowl, blend the brown sugar, white sugar, mashed avocado, applesauce and pudding mix together until smooth. Add in egg substitute and blend well.  Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until set. Gradually mix in the flour/baking soda combination, until well blended.  Last, mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonful onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  The cookies may look a bit lighter in color than regular cookies.

Quick Tips:
* You can use wheat flour in place of white, the cookies may be a bit more dry
* If you prefer, you can add in up to 1/2c chocolate chips, I like to keep the amount a bit lower, to reduce the overall fat content.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


What You'll Need:
8 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp fresh ground fennel
1/8 tsp (a little less) ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2" fresh ginger root, peeled
2 small pinches of clove powder, or 2 whole cloves
3/4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/4 c. white onion, chopped

1 pack baby bella mushrooms  (pre-packaged and sliced)
1 (12 oz) pack firm tofu (drained and patted dry), cut into 1/2" cubes
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp soy sauce

1 package (thin or flat) rice noodles

What to Do:
For the Broth:
In a medium sized pot, boil the chicken broth, fennel, cinnamon, garlic powder, black pepper, ginger root, clove, sugar and salt together.  After the broth is at a full boil for about 5 minutes, add the chopped onion and stir in the oyster sauce.  Reduce the heat so the broth cooks at a fast simmer; continue to cook until onions are translucent.  Once the onions are cooked all the way through, removed the ginger root (and whole cloves, if you used them).

While the broth is cooking:
Heat a frying pan on med to med-high heat with about 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbs soy sauce. Saute the mushrooms and tofu for approximately 10 minutes, or until the tofu is golden brown. 

For the Noodles:
Prepare as directed on the package

Keep the broth, noodles and mushroom/tofu mix separate until you are ready to eat. Garnish with fresh bean sprouts and/or fresh cilantro.

Tofu Jalfrezi

What You'll Need:
1 (12 oz) package of extra firm tofu (drained and patted dry), cut into 1/2" cubes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1/2c. grated yellow onion (approximately 1/2 of a med/small onion)
1 green bell pepper, cut in 2" strips
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp (slightly heaping) coriander powder
1 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 c and 3 Tbs water

What to Do:

Heat 1/2 tsp of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Add uncooked, cubed tofu (right) and increase heat to medium/high.  Let tofu sit for 2-3 minutes, then saute (stirring occasionally) for about 15 minutes or until tofu is lightly golden brown (see below).  Remove from pan.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat in the same frying pan.  Once heated, add grated onions and increase heat to high.  Saute continuously on high heat until liquid evaporates. Reduce to med-high heat and continue to saute for another 5-7 minutes, until onion begins to turn golden brown (right).

 Reduce heat to medium, add 1 Tbs water and garlic powder.  Saute onions with garlic powder and water (so it doesn't get too dry and burn) for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until garlic powder turns golden brown. Add the sauteed tofu to the onion and garlic powder mix. Saute for 3-4 minutes until spices and onion cover tofu evenly.   Add an additional 2Tbs of water and add remaining spices (salt, turmeric, coriander and cumin powders).  Continue to saute mixture over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes (right).

 Increase heat to med-high and add in diced tomatoes (with juice; see below); cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Add bell pepper and 1/4c water. Cover and cook (on med-fast simmer) for an additional 7-10 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over rice (I prefer brown), with naan or whole wheat tortillas.

Quick Tips:
*If you prefer, this recipe can be made with 1 pound cubed chicken breast. Omit the 1/4 c. of water.  Add in the raw chicken after sautéing the onion and garlic powder. Follow the recipe as listed, cooking the chicken for 20 minutes.

Lentil Soup (Daal)

Yield: approximately 4 1/4 cups 

What You'll Need:
1 1/2 c. red lentils
4 1/2 c. water
1 roma or small tomato, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp whole cumin seed


What to do:
Place lentils, water, chopped tomato, chopped onion, salt and red pepper flakes in a medium to large-sized saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil (uncovered), stirring occasionally.  Once the lentils begin to boil reduce the heat to med-low and continue to cook (covered; med-slow simmer) for about 15 minutes,  stirring occasionally.  Once lentils are cooked (will be mushy, slightly lumpy and have a thick soup-like consistency) add in the lemon juice.

In a frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add cumin seed and garlic powder.  Saute over med-high heat (making sure that all ingredients are soaked with the oil) until cumin seed start to turn brown, begin to sizzle and garlic powder turns golden brown (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes; see video clip). Promptly remove from heat and dump into the saucepan containing the cooked lentils (will make a sizzling sound when added). Stir the sauteed mixture into the lentils, check for salt (if needs more add 1/4 tsp at a time, until reaches desired taste).

Garlic powder and cumin seed in olive oil (before sauteing)

Quick Tips:
* You can also serve this over rice (brown or white) instead of eating it like a soup
* Add more or less water to change the consistency (you may need to add more salt if adding additional water)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Low-Fat Tofu Enchiladas

Yield: 2 enchiladas
What you'll need:
6 oz extra firm tofu (drained and patted dry) cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbs fat free sour cream
1/2 c. fat free cottage cheese
1/4 c. reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tsp. McCormick's mild taco seasoning (homemade works too)
1/2 c. Las Palmas green enchilada sauce
2 Smart & Delicious low-carb, high-fiber, whole wheat tortillas
dash of black pepper

What to do:
Preheat oven at 350.

In a medium sized bowl, combine cubed tofu, olive oil and taco seasoning.  On med-high heat, place tofu in non-stick frying pan.  Let cook, without stirring for 3-4 minutes.  Continue to saute for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, so tofu turns golden brown  (total cook time = 10 minutes). Remove from heat.

 Uncooked tofu, mixed with seasoning and oil

Tofu after being sauteed for 10 minutes

While tofu is cooking, combine fat-free sour cream, fat-free cottage cheese and a dash of black pepper in a bowl.

To assemble:  Fill the tortilla with half of the tofu, mozzarella and sour cream/ cottage cheese mixture (place in a line down the center of the open tortilla).  Fold over each side of the tortilla and place seam-side down in a glass or metal cooking dish (large enough to fit two enchiladas).  Repeat with second tortilla.  Pour enchilada sauce evenly over both filled enchiladas.  Bake in oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Quick Tips:
*If you prefer, you can make this with chicken. Substitute the tofu with 1/2 pound cubed chicken breast. Omit the olive oil and cook the chicken as directed on the back of the taco seasoning package. 
*You can find recipes for homemade taco seasoning on 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Low-Fat Creamy Mashed Potato Soup

What you'll need:

3/4 c dried potato flakes
3/4 c water
1/3 c fat free milk
1/8 tsp butter buds (optional)
dash of salt

3 c. fat free milk
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. frozen peas, green beans and corn
1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
salt to taste (I use approximately 1/2 tsp)
1 heaping tbs white flour
1/4 c water

What to do:
In a small microwavable bowl, heat the 3/4 c water, 3/4 c fat free milk, salt and butter buds for 2 minutes on high heat. Remove from microwave and mix in dried potato flakes. Let sit for 1 minute or until moistened. Fluff with fork and set aside.  Once the mashed potatoes are cooled, form 1/2" - 1" balls.

In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the 3 cups of milk, frozen vegetables, chopped onion and chicken broth to a boil, stirring frequently so the milk doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Reduce heat so soup remains at a steady simmer.  Add in garlic, salt, black pepper and dried parsley and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  In a separate bowl, mix flour and water together.  Bring soup back to a fast simmer and add in the flour/water mixture while stirring constantly.   Cook for 1 minute, then reduce heat to a slow simmer.  The water/flour mix should thicken the soup; if you wish to have a thicker consistency, just add more of the water/flour mix (while the soup is boiling).

Once soup base has reached desired consistency, carefully drop in the mash potato balls that were rolled earlier.

Quick Low-Fat and Heart-Friendly Stir Fry

Let me just start by saying, I am not a huge fan of fish.  I generally don't like fish that smells or tastes too "fishy".  However, White Ruffy is surprisingly good and doesn't have that smell, even while cooking!  This is a sweet and spicy stir fry that started out as an experiment and ended up tasting pretty good!

What you'll need:
4 - 4oz fillets of White Ruffy, thawed and patted dry (A type of fish; I get mine from Trader Joe's)
butter spray
lemon pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp olive oil

1 red bell pepper, cut in to approximately 2" strips
2 green bell pepper, cut in to approximately 2" strips
1 small sweet onion (white), chopped
7-10 fresh white mushrooms
1 can baby corn on the cob (each one cut in half)
1 small can sliced water chestnut
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c General Tsao's Stiry Fry Sauce (I get mine from Trader Joe's)
1/4 c, and 1 tbs Soy Vay's Veri Teriyaki Sauce (blue label)
1 heaping tbs cornstarch
1/4 c water

What to do: 

Heat the 1 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds.  Add all vegetables and saute on med-high heat, until slightly tender (approximately 7-10 minutes; pierce the bell pepper and corn with a fork, if it goes in easily it's ready).  In a separate bowl, mix the stir fry sauce and teriyaki sauce together until well blended.  Add the sauce mixture to the vegetables and simmer for a few minutes.  While the vegetables and sauce are simmering, mix the water and cornstarch together in a separate bowl.  Bring the vegetable and sauce mix to high heat; when the mixture reaches a fast simmer, add in the water and cornstarch mixture while stirring constantly. Cook on high heat for about 1 minute and then turn off the heat. Once the heat is off, stir the vegetables and sauce a few more times, cover and set aside.

Once the  vegetables are ready, heat 1/2 tsp of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over med-high heat.  Once heated, spray the pan with 4-5 sprays of butter spray and sprinkle lemon pepper directly on to the frying pan.  Add fillets of White Ruffy; cook on med-high (closer to medium) heat for about 7-8 minutes.  While the first side of the fish is cooking, spray the raw sides of the fillets (the ones facing up) with a few sprays of butter spray and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon pepper (about a pinch, per fillet).  After 7-8 minutes, or when the Ruffy is slightly golden brown on the side that is being cooked, flip the fish and cook for an additional 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Serve with stir fried vegetables!

Quick Tips:
*When adding the cornstarch and water mixture to the vegetables and sauce, make sure to add when the mixture is at a fast simmer/boil.  When using cornstarch to thicken mixtures, it needs to be added at high heat, or it will turn lumpy
*If you wish to have a thicker sauce, mix more cornstarch and water together and add to the vegetable/sauce mix (while on high heat!)

Thank you Fadia B. for the inspiration!

Low-Fat Cupcakes with Fat-Free Frosting!

What you'll need for the cupcakes*:
One box Betty Crocker Super Moist white cake mix
3/4 c. liquid egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 c. water
24 baking cups (I use Reynold's StayBrite, but any foil-lined cup will do-- no paper cups!)

*if using a different brand or flavor of cake mix, follow the recipe as listed on the back of the box. Just substitute eggs with the egg substitute and any oil/butter with applesauce.

What you'll need for the frosting:
8oz tub of fat-free cool whip (or any generic frozen whipped topping), thawed
1 (3.5 oz) package of instant pudding (any flavor)
1 can fat-free condensed milk
1/2 c. cold fat-free milk

What To Do:

Steps for The Cupcakes:
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Place cake mix, water, egg substitute, and apple sauce in a medium sized mixing bowl. Blend all ingredients together until well blended (about 2 minutes).
Pour equal amounts of batter into the 24 baking cups
Bake as directed on the box (approximately 18-20 minutes). Cool completely.

Steps for Frosting:
Place pudding mix, milk and condensed milk is medium sized mixing bowl
With a fork or wire whisk, whisk all ingredients together until well blended.  Allow mixture to sit for 3-5 minutes until firm (mixture will jiggle slightly when bowl is shaken gently)
Fold in thawed whipped topping
Place in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up slightly

    Once cupcakes are cooled completely, pipe the frosting on to each cupcake

    Quick Tips:
    *Use only foil lined cupcake liners/baking cups.  The cupcakes will stick to paper liners due to the lack of fat in them
    *You can also experiment with different instant pudding (for varied frosting flavors) and cake combinations