Category Archives: Recipe Renovation

Protein Pancakes: Start your day off right

Who doesn’t like pancakes? Just the word brings back yummy thoughts of breakfast. Seriously the word has CAKE in it! If I can have cake for every meal and not put on weight, sign me up! Unfortunately traditional pancakes act like cake when we eat it. It all goes to our butts, thighs, and bellies. Well here is a recipe to still have the flavorful joy of pancakes, but without the depressing sad side effects of guilt when you slam a short stack!

Anthony's Protein pancakes

Anthony’s Protein Pancakes

Basic Batter:
2 whole eggs
1/3 C. egg whites
1/2 C. 1% cottage cheese
1 C. natural oats
1/2 banana
2 tsp. cinnamon

 

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth (if consistency is not to your liking you can add oats to thicken, or egg whites to thin out). Heat skillet on med-high. Spray skillet with olive oil and cook batter like normal pancakes, flipping once air bubbles begin to form (about 3-4 min. per side). Serve hot and top with natural butter (1 tbsp. tops!), honey, agave nectar, or natural maple syrup. Just don’t over do it on your toppings!

Recipe makes 4 – 8″ pancakes. Each pancake is about 120 cal. 3g Fat, 12g Carbs (3g fiber), 11g Protein

Things to add to batter to change flavor:
*Protein powder (I don’t like this, but to each their own!)
*Apple Cinnamon (add sliced apples in blender to mix w/ batter)
*Blueberry (add blueberries to mixture after blended…duh)
*Chocolate chip pancakes (natural carob chips)
*Cranberry n Nuts (add craisins and chopped pecans to batter after mixed)
*Pumpkin (add 1/4 C. pumpkin and dash of nutmeg to batter and mix)

*Carrot Cake (add 1/4 C. shredded carrots and 3 tbsp. crushed pecans)

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Recipe Renovation: Chicken Salad Sandwich

Makes 4 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup red grapes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tbsp toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallion
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Several grates of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices multi-grain bread
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes

To cook the chicken, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken and simmer for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from water and cool completely. When cool, cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a bowl with the grapes, walnuts, dill, scallions, yogurt, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

To assemble the sandwiches, place 4 slices of bread on a work surface. For each sandwich, top with 1/2 cup arugula, 1/2 cup chicken salad, 1/4 cup sliced radishes and another piece of bread.

Carlton’s Suggestions for Substitutions:

  • Chicken – Boiling the chicken is the suggested method.  This is to lower fat and sodium content.  However, boiled chicken can be dry if cooked too long – and flavorless.  An alternate method would be to salt and pepper the chicken & boil in low sodium chicken stock for more flavor.  However, you could just as easily saute the chicken in stock or olive oil.  Or bake the chicken.  But if you need to save time, use rotisserie chicken.
  • Also think about using turkey or shrimp instead of chicken.
  • Despite their health benefits, both the arugula and radish are peppery and pungent.   In place of the radish, some shredded carrots, mixed in with the salad, would provide enough crunch. And a mesclun mix or a red lettuce could replace the arugula.

Chicken Salad Sandwich from Epicruious

Nutritional Analysis:

Per Sandwich:

Calories 260, protein 23 g, total fat 6 g, carbohydrates 28 g, sodium 460 mg, fiber 5 g

Nutritional analysis provided by The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook

Recipe from The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook: Mega-nutritious Meals that are Inspired, Delicious and Fad-free by Tina Ruggiero, M.S., R.D., photography by Bill Bettencourt. Copyright © 2013 Tina Ruggiero. First published in 2013 by Page Street Publishing.

 

Recipe Renovation: Carlton’s Shrimp and Grits

General Tso's Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken

If you love a certain type of food or have a favorite dish, it’s always fun to find out which restaurant makes the best.  For awhile, I was in search of the best General Tso’s Chicken (it was New Peking in Westport) Then, I was in search of the best crab cakes (it was Avenues Bistro) .

Lobster and Crab Cakes

Lobster and Crab Cakes (photo credit: Carlton Logan)

Then, it was the best fried calamari (Ingredient).

Calamari

Fried Calamari from Ingredient (photo credit: Carlton Logan)

Lately, it’s shrimp and grits.  I recently tried this dish at Louie’s Wine Dive in Brookside – it was GOOD.  But even better? Rye takes it to a whole new level…creamy, cheesy, almost-smooth grits… perfectly cooked shrimp… and flavorful pulled pork!

But I wanted to create my own  (lighter) version.  Traditionally, this Southern dish has lots of fat and sodium.  One recipe I found has 574 calories, 37 grams of fat and almost 1,600 mg of sodium.  So the challenge was to create my own recipe, keeping the richness and flavor and decreasing all the bad stuff.

C's shrimp and cheese grits

My lighter version of shrimp and grits

Carlton’s Lighter Shrimp and Grits

Serves 6 people

Grits:

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 ½ cups of low sodium, low-fat chicken stock (I use Trader Joe’s Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup of uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Shrimp

  • 2 slices of low sodium bacon
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped or minced garlic
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 pound raw, deveined  shrimp (26/30 or 30/35 count)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1/3 cup of sliced scallions

1. Bring water, stock and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk in grits; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cover. Keep warm.

2. Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Add white onion, garlic, and tomatoes to pan; cook 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown , stirring frequently. Add shrimp and red pepper; cook 3 minutes. Combine stock and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add broth/flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve shrimp mixture with grits.  Top with green onions and crumbled bacon.

Nutritional Analysis

  • Calories: 237.4
  • Total Fat: 8.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: .7g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 129.1mg
  • Sodium: 343.9
  • Potassium: 204.1mg
  • Total Carbs: 19.8g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
  • Sugars: 1.2g
  • Protein: 22.7g
  • Vitamin A: 8.4%
  • Vitamin B-12: 16.6%
  • Vitamin B-6: 5.6%
  • Vitamin C: 7.0%
  • Vitamin D: 28.7%
  • Calcium: 15.8%
  • Etc.

Variations:

  • Omitting the bacon will reduce the fat and sodium.  Or if you don’t want to omit the bacon, turkey bacon might be a healthier alternative.  Just cook it long enough to crisp it.  Bacon in this recipe adds flavor and texture.  But also keep in mind, if you use bacon, it renders very little fat.  You may want to consider a tablespoon of olive oil to saute the onions.
  • Substituting 2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese in the grits results will lose 20 calories, 2 grams of fat and about 75 mg of sodium
  • Substituting 1 cup of low sodium shredded Cheddar cheese for the Parmesan will increase calories by about 30, increase fat by 2 grams and increase the sodium by 100 mg

RECIPE RENOVATION: Potato Soup

Photo credit: Carlton Logan

Photo credit: Carlton Logan

I am always looking for recipes containing less sodium and less fat.  More and more, I’m pulling away from processed foods and gravitating towards fresh ingredients…fresh produce, lean meats, whole grains.

So, during fall, what’s better for lunch or dinner than a bowl of warm soup?  I have many homemade recipes for soup with tomatoes or squash or noodles.  But I didn’t have a healthy recipe for potato soup.  Until now.  I found this recipe at MyRecipes.com.

To cut back on the starchy potatoes, this recipe replaces some of the spuds with roasted cauliflower.  This increases the nutrients, cuts calories and adds a depth of flavor.  Also, using low-fat milk and sour cream cuts the fat.  Overall, this recipe cuts the calories in half, drastically reduces saturated fat and sodium.

Makes 8 servings, about 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound cubed peeled baking potato (about 2)
  • 1 pound cubed Yukon gold potato (about 4)
  • 5 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets (about 1/2 head)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1/2 cup fat-free fromage blanc (such as Vermont Creamery) or sour cream
  • 2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. 2. Heat a large Dutch oven (or stockpot) over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, thyme, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf.
  3. 3. While potatoes simmer, combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, cauliflower, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat. Roast at 450° for 30 minutes or until browned, turning once.
  4. 4. Place cauliflower mixture and milk in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour cauliflower mixture into a large bowl. Add half of potato mixture to blender; pulse 5 to 6 times or until coarsely chopped. Pour into bowl with cauliflower mixture. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Place cauliflower-potato mixture in Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 cup green onions, and fromage blanc; stir until fromage blanc melts. Ladle soup into 8 bowls. Top evenly with remaining green onions, cheese, and bacon.  (Note: if you don’t have a stand blender, an immersion blender would work as well, if not better.)

Nutritional Analysis:

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 223
  • Fat: 6.7g
  • Saturated fat: 2.7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.8g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 12.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 29.7g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg
  • Iron: 1.8mg
  • Sodium: 478mg
  • Calcium: 185mg

Dr. Oz 7-Layer Fat-Fighting Dip!

dr_oz_7-layer_fat-fighting_dip

Photo credit: what2cook.net

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 3 medium ripe avocados, mashed and mixed with 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cup Greek yogurt mixed with 1 package of low-sodium taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can black beans , rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of sliced olives, drained
  • 8 ounces of 2% milk cheddar cheese

Starting with the lettuce on the bottom of a bowl, add each layer on top of the next, ending with sprinkling the cheese on top. Alternate one celery stick with each whole grain chip to cut your calories in half.

Pizza with a Gluten Free “Crust”

This recipe was submitted by Rose Krebs.  The “crust” is made from cheese!

Gluten Free, Low Carb, Diabetic Friendly Pizza

Gluten Free, Low Carb, Diabetic Friendly Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Crust:
  • 1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese room temperature {full fat}
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • sprinkle of pepper
  • Topping:
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • toppings – pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms
  • sprinkle of garlic powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Mix cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese until combined {I use handheld mixer}.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  5. Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Spread pizza sauce on to crust.
  7. Top with cheese and pizza toppings.
  8. Sprinkle with garlic powder.
  9. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Recipe Renovation – Low Fat Brownie Muffins

Stephanie Lohse is sharing a very simple recipe – there are only 2 ingredients!  Well, 3 if you count the mini chocolate chips.  But they’re so small….who’s counting?

And if you’ve ever been on Weight Watchers, you are probably familiar with this recipe.

Stephanie Lohse's brownie recipe

The 2 Ingredients:

  1. A box of low-fat brownie mix
  2. 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree (not pie mix)

That’s it.  Stephanie adds about a tablespoon of water for added moisture.  Mix it all together and pour into greased muffin tins or paper cups.  This is when Stephanie sprinkles a few mini chocolate chips on the tops of the muffins.

Bake at 350ª for about 20 minutes.  Test to see if they’re done with a toothpick.  This recipe makes about 12 regular size muffins or 36 mini muffins.

Nutritional Analysis (per 1 regular or 3 mini muffin)

Calories: 180

Fat: 2.5g

Carbs: 37

Fiber: 2.5g

Protein: 2.5g

Recipe Renovation – Healthier Nachos Supreme

photo credit: James Baigrie

photo credit: James Baigrie

Healthier Nachos Supreme (contributed by Gail Meis) from Good Housekeeping

  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
  •  Salt
  • 1/4 cup(s) pickled sliced jalapeño chiles
  • 1 can(s) (15-ounce) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup(s) low-fat (1-percent) milk
  • 1 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon(s) water
  • 4 ounce(s) reduced-fat (50-percent) extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Sprinkle 1 side of tortillas with 1/4 teaspoon salt. In 4 batches, place tortillas between 2 paper towels on microwave-safe plate in single layer, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Microwave on High 2 minutes or until crisp.
  2. Finely chop half of jalapeños; reserve remaining for serving. Reserve 1/4 cup beans; place remaining in a medium sized bowl.
  3. In 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan, heat milk on medium until just bubbling around edges. In small bowl, stir cornstarch and water until cornstarch dissolves. With wire whisk, stir cornstarch mixture into hot milk. Heat to simmering, whisking constantly; simmer 2 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. Stir in chopped jalapeños.
  4. Pour 1/4 cup sauce over beans in bowl. With potato masher or fork, mash beans until almost smooth.
  5. Place tortilla chips on serving plate. Spoon mashed beans over, then top with remaining sauce. Top with tomatoes, green onion, reserved beans, and reserved jalapeños.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 200
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 12mg
Sodium 315mg
Total Carbohydrate 29g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars
Protein 13g
Calcium

 

Recipe Renovation – Creamy Mac and Cheese

I promise you this recipe will taste better than this stuff in a box...

I promise you this recipe will taste better than this stuff in a box…

Creamy Mac and Cheese

(adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine)

Serves 6

  • 4 cups uncooked medium elbow macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and set aside.

While pasta cooks, place garlic, flour, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Stir over a low heat for a couple of minutes.  Add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes or until thick and cream cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Stir in mustard and smoked paprika; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss well.

DSCI0448

I usually use rotini noodles to catch all that creamy sauce!

DSCI0452

I combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic as a foundation for the sauce and flavor profile.

DSCI0453

Initially, add a little bit of the milk to the flour to begin the “roux”.

DSCI0458

The cheese is added to the sauce, which also helps to thicken it.

DSCI0465

The finished product, sprinkled with an additional couple of tablespoons of shredded cheese.

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 257.3
  • Fat: 6.7g
  • Saturated fat: 3.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.8g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 15.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 30.3g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Cholesterol: 27mg
  • Iron: 1.4mg
  • Sodium: 536mg
  • Calcium: 312mg

Notes about this recipe:

  • The biggest plus with this recipe is a decrease in fat and sodium.  Although the sodium content is not low, it is greatly decreased from the 900 to 1,000 mg found in most homemade or restaurant recipes.  And the fat content is much lower compared to 18 grams found in restaurant recipes.
  • This side dish would go well with steamed veggies  or a salad and a lean portion of protein.

Benefits from this recipe:

  • This recipe is quick to assemble because there’s no prep work involved.
  • A lot of rich sauces start with a roux of butter and flour.  The butter is omitted in this recipe to reduce the fat.  The flour and cream cheese create the thick, creamy texture in the sauce.
  • The fat in the recipe is reduced but eliminating butter, using low fat cream cheese and fat-free milk (instead of heavy cream or whole milk, both of which have a higher fat content).
  • Garlic adds flavor and great health benefits.  Also, using the garlic at the beginning allows you to use some of the garlic juice to create the roux.

Other tasty tips:

  • Add some chopped broccoli, tomatoes, or chopped bell peppers for color.
  • Spice it up with your favorite herbs and spices.
  • Using whole wheat pasta will increase fiber by about 4 grams.
  • If you like a bit of crunch with your mac and cheese, you can sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of PLAIN Japanese panko crumbs on top and broil in the oven for a few minutes.  Just remember to keep an eye on it so you don’t burn the crumbs.  And also consider the crumbs will add about 20 to 30  calories.  It will also slightly increase sodium and carb content, depending on the manufacturer.
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