Monday, November 30, 2009

Pudding or Bread, you decide....

Are you like me during Thanksgiving and HAVE to have something corn? Cornbread stuffing, corn pudding, succotash....something corn. Besides loving the taste of corn, perhaps it's something about the roots of Thanksgiving and the pilgrims learning the use of corn from the natives.....Nahhhhhh, I am not thinking THAT deep on T-day. I just love sweet yet buttery corn.

The springboard recipe I used was from Cooking Light and if you know me....I tweaked it. I am such a rebel.

Corn Pudding
adapted from Cooking Light's Colonial Corn Pudding
  • 3 cups frozen whole-kernel corn kernels, thawed and divided
  • 3/4 cup evaporated fat-free milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons smart balance
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 egg substitute
  • half a box of jiffy corn muffin mix
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Fat Free cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine 1 cup corn, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, and smart balance in a blender; process until smooth. Combine remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pureed corn mixture, remaining 2 cups corn, cheese and corn muffin mix.

3. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

So yummy!!! It was nice to have the fat cut significantly in the pudding yet have a bit of butter on top to make the whole thing seem so rich! This is a 'do-again' recipe for sure!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's not the holidays without....

Green Bean Casserole of course!

Some people find this yucky. Some people are tired of it. I never tire of it for I only have it during the holidays. So I look forward to it.

I wanted to have this for dinner, yet cut back some of the fat....yes I know green beans are vegetables and not normally have fat.....but this is another one of those evil side dishes with FAT and sodium.

Our family used cream or half and half and a can or two of the campbells mushroom soup....but the only fat in this beauty is those French's onion rings on top. I didn't bother looking at the content on the can. Somethings are better left alone and besides I wasn't eating the whole casserole, just a spoonful. Maybe next time I will try the recipes original version with sauteed onions and bread crumbs!

Lean Green Bean Casserole
adapted by Low Cal Diner

1 Package (16 OZ) Frozen Green Beans
1 Onion, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Teaspoon Margarine (I used smart balance)
½ Pound Fresh Mushrooms, chopped
1 Can (12 OZ) Fat Free Evaporated Milk
3T Flour
½ can of water (in milk can to thin out white if too thick)
¼ Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
1/8 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Topping: French's Onions Place beans in a microwavable bowl. Cover and cook on high for 7-9 minutes. Drain. In a skillet add the onions, garlic and margarine. Sauté until tender, 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Reduce heat to low, add in and stir until combined. Mix the milk and flour and add to the mushroom mixture. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 2 minutes or until it thickens. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Stir in the beans. Bake uncovered at 375° for 15 minutes. Add French’s onion rings and sprinkle over the casserole and bake for another 10 minutes.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Have a ball during dinner!

Whether you use Stovetop stuffing from a box or make it from scratch, making balls out of it is a great idea for these reasons:

1. Stuffing put in the bird soaks up tremendous amounts of fat, these only have the amount of fat you put in them.
2. Less worry about bacteria when stuffing is cooked separately.
3. You can make these ahead of time and warm them up right before serving.
4. These are already portioned out, one scoop per person (or whatever your count is).
5. Easy to serve/handle.
6. Best of both worlds crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.
7. Can be made appetizer size or dinner size.
8. Adds visual interest on any plate!

Lisa of The Cutting Edge of Ordinary inspired me to do this and I thought they looked rather cute on the platter with the turkey!

Our stuffing recipe from the family is usually EVIL. So much fat....Cooked sausage....onion and celery sauteed in the pork fat....add a stick of butter then cooked in the turkey..... THUD!
Here's what I did to make them more reasonable fat-wise!

Lower Fat Stuffing Balls

1 turkey neck
3 cups water
scant olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups of stale bread cubes (rye is great!)

In a sauce pan, place 3 cups of water and cook the turkey neck until reduced by half. Notice that there is some turkey fat floating around....just what you need. Remove turkey neck and remove as much meat as you can and chop. Add to broth.

In frying pan, one turn of olive oil in pan and saute the onions and celery. Add poultry seasoning and salt/pepper. When onion/celery is soft, turn off heat and add the bread cubes. Stir in broth little by little until absorbed but not mushy.

Line cookie sheet with foil and again another swirl of olive oil in foiled lined pan. Take your ice cream scoop and make portions onto cookie sheet.

Bake in 350 oven for about 10 minutes or until crispy on bottom. I put the 'balls' under the broiler for a minute before serving to get extra brown.

I'd do these again with sausage as an appetizer!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Use it or Lose it?

How did you roast your Turkey this year? Did you stuff it? Brine it? Cook on high heat then reduce to a lower heat? Deep Fat Fry it? Massage it with butter and stuff with herbs? Baste it every 1/2 hour? I have done all of those (well, I've not fried a turkey for it's just to scary a task for me!)

I cooked the turkey this year was with a roasting bag. It's self basting and browns the turkey pretty well. Those roasting bags are pretty mainstream now....they are pretty much in all the stores (those slow cooker liners are not easy to find though).

If you haven't used a roasting bag....please do. They are great. Not only can I massage the oil/butter with the bag instead of my hands but lifting the turkey to put in the roasting pan is no fuss-no muss.

Simple instructions, preheat oven @ 350 degrees. Follow the chart for the time per pound. Season and oil your bird. I put tons of fresh herbs in the cavity. Rub down with oil, salt and pepper and a Tablespoon of flour or two down in the bag under the turkey. Seal bag with tie provided. Cut a few slits on top and shove that gobbler in the oven. About halfway I did use a temperature probe for I wanted to make sure the leg temperature was 180 degrees( I was NOT going to use that stupid 'pop up' thing to tell me if/when my turkey was done!

When I carve, I like to cut behind the breast meat (knife along the breast bone) and all the way down. Removing the WHOLE breast and then slice as shown. So much easier. My dad always used one of those electric knives and the meat just seemed to shred. This way 'fans' on the platter nicely.

Here you go, meat and stuffing balls with gravy ready for the table! It was so moist!

So my advice? USE IT, this post may have come after T-day....but now you are ready to go for Christmas. Better yet, you can use these roasting bags for chicken and pot roast too anytime during the year!

Tune in next time for the stuffing balls!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble it up!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! It's nice to have the day before T-day off so I can do some pre-preparations for tomorrow.

So what are you guys making for your big day? Are you having tons of family, going away or having a small dinner at home? Last year K-man and I went to his mom's but this year it's a small quiet dinner for just the two of us. What is on your menu?

As some of you know already, I've been avoiding my blog a bit since I've been on a weight loss plan. Already 15 lbs gone in 3 weeks! YAY! So, not wanting to totally blow it out tomorrow a few things have the fat cut. It's really hard when your diet is NO FAT, NO SUGAR and NO SALT. I feel great but when I find recipes or products there is always something of those three that is present making it difficult to work around recipes or eating. But I think I found a good combo of foods (with K-man's input of what he wanted) to make our dinner a good one.

Here is what is in store for us tomorrow:

Turkey (cooked in a roasting bag)
Mashed Potatoes and gravy
Stuffing Balls
Green Bean Casserole
Corn Pudding
Pumpkin Custard
No Fat Brownie Tart

Stay tuned for the next few days to see how these recipes turned out and what I did to 'tweak' the fat contents. The links above were the spring board for the recipes I used and wanted to give my thanks for their initial recipes that gave me inspiration to have my holiday food and still be 'somewhat' good on my plan without going totally bonkers.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guilt Free Meatballs

Who doesn't love a meatball? I know I certainly do! Here's what I did to keep out the fat of my meatballs and yet add flavor and keep the moisture!

Guilt Free Chicken Meatballs

1 serving of Fat Free Bagel Chips (look to your package what that is)
Fat Free PLAIN coffee creamer
2 slices of cooked turkey bacon, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 lb ground chicken
2 Tbsp tomato paste, divided
1 Tbsp calorie free, sugar free ketchup (Walden Farms makes this)
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Crumble up bagel chips and cover with creamer in bowl. Stir and coat and break up with spoon until softened.

Chop up turkey bacon finely and green onions and put in bowl with softened bagel chips. Press garlic and add. Mix. Add salt, pepper, tomato paste, egg substitute and mix again. Add ground chicken.

Mix until incorporated with fork. Use small scooper (the one I use for cookies) to make meatballs onto nonstick foiled cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. In a small custard cup, mix ketchup, tomato paste and Italian Seasoning.

After ten minutes, brush ketchup mixture onto meatballs and bake for another ten minutes.

Absolutely moist and very tasty! Great on spaghetti squash!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Orange these yummy!!!

K-man loves those orange rolls made by Pillsbury in a can from the refrigerated section in the grocery. Every so often he requests them for breakfast as a treat. But I am not buying them anymore because I found some recipes. Pioneer Woman's site Tasty Kitchen is where many of her fans can submit recipes. Two inspired me.

Orange Rolls
(from mamabunny) and also Orange Marmalade Rolls (the site author Ree Drummond, also can be found in her new cookbook). I wasn't in the mood to make dough from scratch so here's what I did....

Orange Sweet Rolls

2 cans of refrigerated pizza dough or 2 can of crescent dough (they make them without perforations now)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 orange zested

2 T melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
juice from that zested orange

Roll out dough. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with mixture of sugar and orange zest. Roll up from the long side. Cut each roll into 8(making 16 rolls- and I used dental floss as well). Place in greased cake pan either 10 inch or 13X9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 or until lightly browned on top.

For the glaze, in a bowl add the powdered sugar, melted butter and vanilla. GRADUALLY add the orange juice until you get the desired spreadable frosting/glaze you want. Spread over rolls while hot.

K-man really loved these he loved "the little bit of sweet and little bit of the tang" The house smells incredible right now too!


Friday, November 13, 2009


We just finished studying Soul Food in my eighth grade classes. For each cuisine they learn about; they do one lab experience (cornbread) and after their mini quiz on Friday they get one more demonstration of another food for them to see the preparation of it and to sample it. I've done grits, hoppin' john, jambalaya, fritters, hoe cakes and I wanted to try something new. I wanted to make sweet potato pie.

Here's the problem I can't make a pie, bake it, chill it and have them eat it all before they leave in 45 minutes. I had to do the TV magic thing and make one before to pull out when I put it in the oven. Then I thought of another thing...ugh...the slicing....the need for forks and plates and cutting one pie into 12 slices, etc. So I thought....why can't I make them into mini sweet potato pies?

And I did....

Here was my recipe adapted from

Mini Sweet Potato Pies

Vanilla Wafers
1 (16 ounce) can mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Marshmallow Fluff

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line each a 2 muffin tins with 18 muffin papers. Spray lightly with non stick spray. Put a vanilla wafer in each cup.

In a mixing bowl blend sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and beat with a electric hand mixer until smooth. Scoop filling into muffin cups with an ice cream scoop. Bake for 20 minutes or until set.

While pies are still hot place a dollop of fluff on each pie to melt. Place in refrigerator to chill.

The kids RAVED over these. I didn't like the fact that these looked more like pumpkin pie (being brown) and not orange from the sweet potatoes. When I do these again, I am going to use real sweet potatoes and not the canned ones which tend to be a dark brownish orange. The fluff was a bit sticky to peel off the paper....but most remained on the mini pie. Sadly, I wasn't able to taste them since my "plan" doesn't allow this kinda stuff....but if the kids were happy and begging for more, it worked for me.

Try your own favorite pie recipe filling as a mini version for the holidays!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kickin' Chicken

I love chicken and how there is a million ways to prepare them. Here is number 609. Or #608 or #610. Whichever. LOL

Spicy Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes (dried not the ones in oil if you want a FF version), softened in hot water
1/4 cup Chili pepper vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
one portobello mushroom, sliced thinly
1-2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup low sodium chicken stock

Grind up tomatoes, onions, garlic and vinegar in a food chopper.

Spray oven proof pan with non stick spray and on medium high heat, cook salted and peppered chicken on both sides until browned. When chicken is browned in pan pour tomato mixture onto chicken and all around. Use chicken broth in chopper container to 'swirl' out the mixture that is stuck you don't have to use a scraper!

Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until chicken is 160 degrees or juiced run clear.

Slice chicken and top with mushrooms from pan, drizzle with sauce on top.

Post Script: Well the good news is that the 'plan' that I've chosen is clearly a good one for I lost 10 lbs last week. Very happy. (yes, yes people, I know that you should only lose 2lbs a week, no lectures plz) LOL. What is most important is that I am not hungry at all during the day (which is frustrating while dieting) and I am really looking forward to my meal at dinner by this time.

I will try to 'pepper' my posts with some things we are making at school amidst these 'healthy' posts. Stay tuned for my new dessert creation I made for the 8th grade this week.


Friday, November 6, 2009

And the challenge begins....

No beef, no bread....lots of protein and only about 10 veggies are unlimited. This will be a challenge. If anyone finds what I created somewhat interesting or tasty....I will be stunned. LOL

My GINORMOUS turkey burger would have had a top 'bun' of portabello but I felt this was going to be too much as it I shared with K-man.

As you know ground turkey can be very dry and tasteless. I used many herbs and about a 1/2 cup of minced veggies to help moisten it and it WORKED!

Topless Turkey or Faux Turkey Burger

1 lb. ground turkey (I used the 93%- mostly white meat)
1/4 small onion
1/4 cup pepper medley (you know the frozen pepper strips)
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
Portabello Mushrooms (either one per burger for 'topless' or two for a 'faux' burger)
Cheese Slices (of course, fat free)
bagged cabbage mix
Salad dressing of choice

Put ground turkey in a bowl and add seasonings. Grind up onion and peppers in a mini chopper if you have one or a knife will do. Add finely minced onion and peppers to turkey and mix well. Shape into burgers. Cook burgers on griddle or grill with portabello mushrooms. Burgers are done when thermometer reaches 180 degrees.

Put cabbage mix in a bowl and add your salad dressing of choice until coated. I used a dressing mix included in my plan called 'carribean splash' was slightly sweet, chili sauced. Definitely needed salt....but sigh...
Lay mushroom on plate place cheese slice and then burger. Add another cheese slice and pile on cabbage mix and add a mushroom topper or eat topless with a fork and knife. This was pretty hearty and flavorful...I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn't finish it all.

K-man had a regular double burger with real cheese on a bun. He added his mayo and ketchup. He also had a side of sweet potato fries and his cabbage had ranch dressing.

By the way...I got the idea for making a burger with portabello 'buns' from a recent Biggest Loser episode. I may be checking out their site for other recipes.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Which do you want first?

The good news or the bad news?

Well, I've noticed that some/many of us food bloggers have cut down on the number of our posts. All for very legitimate reasons. Even the illegitimate reasons are okay with me....who am I to judge? LOL

Well the bad news is this food blogging new to me as fun as it's been has had it cost. Weight gain. Ugh. I've read other bloggers complain about I knew it was to come. I certainly don't blame my blog....but it's certainly has contributed for I've been trying so many new and fun foods I see on the other blogs....I wanted to cook them. I wanted to cook lots of my favorites so I'd have things to share on my blog. My blog (or anyone else's blog) did NOT force me to eat all those foods I posted about....Yes, I shared with neighbors, friends, family, took some to work, etc.....but clearly I didn't SHARE ENOUGH! Did K-man gain weight too? NOOOOOOOOOO, he bikes like banshee, so he didn't put on a ounce! If anything, he's LOST weight and gotten trimmer (grrrrrr).

Anyhow, being back to school, getting adjusted, being bummed....figuring out what to do to get the pounds back off...has kept me away for a bit. *Hanging head* Sowwy.

The last part of the bad news is my choice plan for weight reduction is pretty severe in comparison to how I've been cooking. No fat, salt, sugar. YIKES!! So the dinners I eat are pretty boring, none exciting and a bit to get used to with the lack of oil, salt and sugars. K-man even has been looking at bit sad and NOT really interested in eating what I am eating. His response was "I can eat a sandwich and some soup for dinner." LOL

Now, the good news.....I can do this! I've done recipes on here before where I've tweaked the recipe to be more healthful. The "healthier" recipes of my past posts weren't totally salt, sugar or butter free.... but I certainly can do recipes where you choose. Either try my 'restrictive' version or add the salt, sugar or oil where you see fit to make it taste better.

For more good news....I will still continue to make stuff for K-man on occasion so he won't be so sad....after he rants and raves and "mmmmmmm's" himself to death because of the food I make. I would be sad to not hear or see all that happiness. And from time to time I will also post about foods were are making at school. The holidays are coming after all.

The last bit of good news....these 'restrictive' diets aren't forever. They can't be...oh I'd kill myself! Just awhile to get what I want off and ease my way back into eating like NORMAL people with more exercise, small amounts and MORE SHARING! LOL. I've done it before, it will be done again.

So bear with me my friends...I love blogging, I love a challenge and I am creative. I can do this.

Tune in next time for my first installment of the "Food Blogger's Nightmare...."

Hanging in there,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Since when does a cake observe a religion?

I acquired this recipe from my grandmother and although I ate her cake hundreds of times never did I ask her why this was named "Jewish Apple Cake" or if she got the recipe from someone who was Jewish. Regardless, it's an incredibly dense, moist and flavorful cake. Tons of apples and cinnamon and a crusty sugary outside.

I had forgotten about this recipe until someone sent me a link to a great site (I had bookmarked and used some of the recipes in the past) called Mrs. Claus' Cookbook. Tons of recipe and fun kid stuff to do as well. So as I was going through the list of cakes again...and I saw it. Jewish Apple Cake. Wow, so my grandmother didn't make this name up....and it was pretty much the same recipe (less O.J and added water).

Here is my Me-mom's version:

Jewish Apple Cake

4 large apples, peeled and cut into thick chunks or slices (coat with 1 T. of cinnamon and 5 T. of sugar)
3 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
2 -1/2 cups sugar
1 T. baking powder
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup orange juice
a few pecans on top for garnish -optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a angel food cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

In an electric mixer, put flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Start slowly to mix dry ingredients and one at a time add your 4 eggs. Pour in oil, then OJ and lastly the vanilla. The batter will be super thick.

In the greased pan* put half of batter, layer with half of cinnamon/sugar coated apples. Put remaining batter on apples and finish with remaining apples on top.

Bake @ 350 for 1-1/2 hours. Check for doneness with a toothpick. This cake is a heavy one! Let stand in pan until warm to touch before removing. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when serving.

*after I greased the pan, I lined it with coffee filters. One (with a hole cut) for the bottom of the angel food pan and several half circles around the sides.

This is great warm from the oven with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Store in refrigerator if you don't think you can eat it all within a day or two. We also ate some slices for breakfast as well!