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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Trifle

Since the "Pumpkin Holidays" (you know, Halloween and Thanksgiving) are coming up I thought it would be fun to make a pumpkin dessert for a little Pampered Chef get together I had. I love making trifles because they are crazy easy and look pretty impressive.
The cake layer of this was inspired by the two ingredient pumpkin cookie recipe that has been all over Pinterest, the one where you mix a can of pumpkin into cake mix and bake it. Instead of using a cake mix I went with gingerbread cookie mix. Next time I might add a little extra spice into the mix. The pumpkin dip layer was from Pinterest as well, the original recipe can be found here. One person suggested maybe adding some more spice to that layer.
I went with sugar-free ingredients for most of this (except the gingerbread mix) to help keep the calories down, but you could use the regular version of this stuff.


    1 batch of pumpkin dip (1 can of pumpkin, 1 container of sugar free cool whip, and 1 box of sugar free vanilla pudding mix all mixed together)
    1 bag of gingerbread cookie mix, dry mix
    1 15 oz can of pumpkin
    1 container of sugar free cool whip
    1/2 cup caramel topping


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the gingerbread cookie mix with the can of pumpkin. Spread it in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Let it cool for at least a couple of hours. Cut it done into bite sized pieces.  Set aside a handful of cake pieces for topping.
In a trifle bowl or other clear bowl, layer the cake, pumpkin dip, and cool whip. Repeat so there are two layers of each ingredient. Top with the cake pieces that were set aside and a touch of cool whip. Drizzle the caramel on top.
Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 12
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 290.5
  • Total Fat: 16.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 269.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 60.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
  • Protein: 2.4 g

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mediterranean Pizza

Most of the time, what ingredients you chose to use in your recipes really makes a difference when it comes to the nutritional values.  When you buy canned foods try to makes sure that it's packed in water or juice, not oil or syrup.  It can really rack up the calories and fat.  It might take a little extra time when you're out shopping, but compare the labels and make sure that you are getting the most nutritional ingredients you can.
This is a simple little recipe, it doesn't really require much prep work.  It's a delicious twist on a regular pizza.  The trick to keeping it lower in calories and fat is to really pay attention to what you are using to make it.  I made notes in the ingredients so you know what I used, but of course you're welcomed to make it your own!


    1 mini flat bread (I used Flat Out Mini with Whole Grains)
    2 tablespoons hummus (I used my homemade hummus)
    1/4 cup chopped red peppers
    2 tablespoons sliced black olives
    4 pieces of canned artichoke hearts packed in water
    1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    Spread the hummus over the flat bread, then top with the peppers, olives, artichoke hearts and cheese. Bake for about ten minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
    Nutritional Info
    • Servings Per Recipe: 1
    • Amount Per Serving
    • Calories: 241.6
    • Total Fat: 6.5 g
    • Cholesterol: 5.0 mg
    • Sodium: 889.1 mg
    • Total Carbs: 19.2 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
    • Protein: 11.8 g

    Saturday, October 27, 2012

    Easy Hummus

    A friend of mine introduced me to hummus a few years ago and I loved it.  The store bought stuff is good, but it's easy to make your own and you can flavor it however you would like.  Besides, regular hummus has about 70 calories for two tablespoons.  A serving of this stuff is almost four tablespoons and only 53 calories per serving.  You can expand upon this recipe if you feel like experimenting, try blending in some red bell pepper, more chili powder or a little lemon juice, maybe even all three.  You can serve this with crackers, chips, or veggies.  I like it on a Mediterranean style pizza (more on that in a later post).


      1 16 oz can of reduced sodium garbanzo beans, undrained
      1 tablespoon onion powder
      1 tablespoon garlic powder
      1 teaspoon chili powder
      1/4 teaspoon salt


    Without draining it, pour the can of beans into a food processor. Sprinkle the onion, garlic and chili powder on top. Blend until smooth. Taste and depending on your preference, add the salt and blend again.
    Nutritional Info
    • Servings Per Recipe: 8
    • Amount Per Serving
    • Calories: 53.1
    • Total Fat: 0.9 g
    • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    • Sodium: 176.7 mg
    • Total Carbs: 10.3 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g
    • Protein: 2.9 g

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Barbecue Chicken Pizza

    I love this recipe!  You can really alter to your taste, use spicier barbecue sauce if you like more of a bite (like my husband) or you can use a sweeter sauce if you prefer (like me).  Plus you can use whatever marinade you like, or none at all.  You can even grill it if you'd like a smokier flavor.  This recipe makes two servings, you can share the pizza or save some for later.  It's a really quick recipe, so it would be good for those nights when you don't know what else to make.  If you forget to pull out the chicken ahead of time, just microwave it for a few minutes to defrost it and use some barbecue rub instead of marinade.


      1 small pizza crust (I used Mama Mia's Thin and Crispy 8")
      4 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, marinaded in your favorite flavor and diced
      3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
      1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


    Preheat the oven to 425.
    Cook the diced chicken breasts until no longer pink.
    Spread the barbecue sauce over the pizza crust, then layer on the chicken and cheese.
    Bake or grill it over indirect medium heat for 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. 
    Nutritional Info
    • Servings Per Recipe: 2
    • Amount Per Serving
    • Calories: 241.4
    • Total Fat: 4.8 g
    • Cholesterol: 29.4 mg
    • Sodium: 856.1 mg
    • Total Carbs: 31.5 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
    • Protein: 17.0 g

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Stuffed Pepper Bowl

    The husband and I both like stuffed peppers, I just don't like the fuss that comes with making them.  So I thought I'd try to find an easier way to have the flavors from a stuffed pepper in a easier to make form.  This is what I came up with.  I could see this being great when you have left over rice or you could make twice the amount of rice called for and use the leftovers the next day to make fried rice.  I like to add some garlic powder and onion powder to the rice while it's cooking.  It gives it just a little more flavor without extra calories or sodium.


      2 cups cooked rice
      1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
      3 cloves of garlic
      1 cup chopped onions
      2 red peppers, diced
      1 can no sodium diced tomatoes
      1 tablespoon basil



      In a large pan, cook the ground beef, onions and garlic. Add the red peppers and cook for three minutes or until slightly softened. Add the can of tomatoes, rice and basil. Cook for a few more minutes, until most of the liquid has been cooked off.
      Nutritional Info
      • Servings Per Recipe: 4
      • Amount Per Serving
      • Calories: 316.4
      • Total Fat: 12.7 g
      • Cholesterol: 40.1 mg
      • Sodium: 657.9 mg
      • Total Carbs: 35.9 g
      • Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g
      • Protein: 15.3 g

      Sunday, October 14, 2012

      Bacon Cheddar Ranch Potato Soup

      This is a great slow cooker recipe.  It has my husband's three favorite ingredients: bacon, ranch and cheese.  Amazingly, it's only 176 calories per serving and a serving is about a cup and a half of soup.  So you could add a topping or two without any guilt.    I like my soup a little less chunky, so about half an hour before serving I scooped out the diced potato and mashed it a bit.  Depending how thick you like your soup, you may need to whisk a little flour into the pot.  You can reduce the sodium count a bit by using lower sodium beef broth and ranch mix.


        2 medium potatoes, diced
        1 12-oz can fat free evaporated milk
        1 cup beef broth
        3 cups water
        1 packet ranch mix
        1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
        1 cup onions, diced
        3 cloves garlic, minced
        6 slices center cut bacon, diced


        In a large pan, saute the bacon, garlic and onions until the bacon is starting to brown.
        In a slow cooker, whisk the ranch mix into the evaporated milk, then combine with the water and beef broth. Add the potatoes, cheese, and bacon mixture to the slow cooker. Cook on low for eight to ten hours.
        You can top the soup with some onion straws, parsley, a little sour cream or whatever else sounds good to you. (Extras aren't included in nutrition facts.)
        Nutritional Info
        • Servings Per Recipe: 6
        • Amount Per Serving
        • Calories: 176.3
        • Total Fat: 1.7 g
        • Cholesterol: 10.9 mg
        • Sodium: 830.8 mg
        • Total Carbs: 25.2 g
        • Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
        • Protein: 14.7 g

      Honey Wheat Bread in the Bread Machine

      There is nothing better in cooler weather than a nice thick slice of warm bread.  This bread is a bit denser than regular bread, but I like it that way (unfortunately the hubby doesn't like it that dense).  It's got a bit of sweetness and it doesn't really taste like wheat bread. 
      I love using my bread machine to make bread because (much like the slow cooker) I can just toss the ingredients in there and let it go.  Just a few hours later and you have fresh, homemade bread.  The only downside is that I can't really give much direction because different machines can work differently.
      The calorie count is a little higher than I'd normally like for bread, but it could fit into your diet depending what you're eating with it.


        1 1/2 cups warm water
        1/2 cup honey
        2 tablespoons olive oil
        4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
        1 packet yeast


      Layer the ingredients in the bread maker according to the machine's instructions. Run a "wheat" cyle and enjoy!
      Nutritional Info
      • Servings Per Recipe: 12
      • Amount Per Serving
      • Calories: 215.2
      • Total Fat: 3.1 g
      • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
      • Sodium: 0.6 mg
      • Total Carbs: 44.7 g
      • Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
      • Protein: 6.0 g

      Tuesday, October 9, 2012

      Cheesy Salsa Pasta

      Apparently tonight's dinner was an absolute home run.  The husband said I could make this any time I want and he went back for seconds, not to mention nummy comments while he was eating.  The sauce part of it only took as long as getting the water to boil and pasta cooked.  You can adjust the spicy factor by using hotter or mild salsa.  You could use just regular ground beef or turkey, but the sausage adds an extra layer of flavor (without any extra work).


        6 oz uncooked pasta
        1/2 pound turkey sausage
        1/4 cup fat free cream cheese
        3/4 shredded cheddar cheese
        1 cup salsa


        Cook the pasta according to the directions.
        Cook the sausage in a large pan. Stir in the cream and cheddar cheeses. When it's mostly melted add the pasta and salsa, stir until everything is well coated.
        Nutritional Info
        • Servings Per Recipe: 4
        • Amount Per Serving
        • Calories: 356.9
        • Total Fat: 13.2 g
        • Cholesterol: 53.8 mg
        • Sodium: 877.1 mg
        • Total Carbs: 38.6 g
        • Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
        • Protein: 22.3 g

        Eggplant "Bruschetta"

        Sometimes when I try to create something new it doesn't quite work out.  Sometimes it does but it doesn't quite make it to "Man-Approved" status.  Unfortunately, this was one of those creations.  I thought it was pretty tasty, but the husband wasn't as big of a fan.  He had never had eggplant before and didn't really like the texture of it.  But he thought the breading/toppings would be good on chicken.  I thought I'd put this up for you guys, in case your husbands do like eggplant.  Let me know if you try it and it meets approval from your guys (or roommates, friends, whatever).


          For Eggplant:
          2 Medium Eggplant, cut into 1/2" slices
          1 cup panko breadcrumbs
          1/4 cup shredded parmesan
          2 tablespoons garlic powder
          2 tablespoons onion powder
          2 tablespoons basil
          1 tablespoon rosemary
          1 tablespoon oregano
          For Topping:
          2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
          3 cloves garlic, minced
          3/4 cup chopped onion
          2 tablespoons basil
          1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

          Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and onion powders, basil, rosemary and oregano. Place some of the breadcrumb mixture on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Press the eggplant slices into the breadcrumbs, covering both sides. Gently brush off the excess (you want just a thin coat). Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, flip, then cook for another ten minutes.
          While that is in the oven, combine the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, onion and basil in a bowl. After the eggplant is done baking, spoon the tomato mixture on each slice. Top evenly with the mozzarella and bake for another five minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
          Nutritional Info
          • Servings Per Recipe: 4
          • Amount Per Serving
          • Calories: 240.5
          • Total Fat: 2.6 g
          • Cholesterol: 7.4 mg
          • Sodium: 363.0 mg
          • Total Carbs: 43.9 g
          • Dietary Fiber: 11.1 g
          • Protein: 10.4 g


        Friday, October 5, 2012

        Green Smoothies

        Sometimes the hardest meal to get my husband to eat is breakfast. Part of it is that he doesn't have much time in the morning, so whatever he eats needs to be either quick or portable. I started making smoothies for myself awhile ago and then I heard about green smoothies. It was all over from there, not only are they packed with good for you stuff like calcium, iron and vitamin c. Plus you can alter them to your own taste, changing the fruits to suit your tastes (or whatever is in your fridge). If you like them thicker you can use frozen fruit. For us, I use fresh so it's easier to drink them from the to go cup the hubby has. I suggest putting either the liquid or the fruit pierces closest to the blender blades and the spinach the furthest away, it blends a lot easier that way.

        Tropical Yogurt Smoothie


          1 container greek yogurt with honey
          1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder
          1/2 cup mango chunks
          2 clementines, peeled and seeds removed
          1 cup fresh spinach


        Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth.
        Nutritional Info
        • Servings Per Recipe: 1
        • Amount Per Serving
        • Calories: 313.9
        • Total Fat: 0.6 g
        • Cholesterol: 25.0 mg
        • Sodium: 145.7 mg
        • Total Carbs: 59.1 g
        • Dietary Fiber: 5.2 g
        • Protein: 21.9 g

        Peach Berry Smoothie (No Yogurt)



          2 peaches, chopped into small pieces
          6 oz fresh raspberries
          2 cups fresh spinach
          1 scoop vanillla protein powder
          1/2 cup water


          Layer the ingredients in a blender, raspberries closest to the blender blade, peaches next, then spinach. Mix the protein powder and water together and pour over everything. Blend until smooth.
          Nutritional Info
          • Servings Per Recipe: 2
          • Amount Per Serving
          • Calories: 140.7
          • Total Fat: 1.2 g
          • Cholesterol: 20.0 mg
          • Sodium: 123.7 mg
          • Total Carbs: 25.8 g
          • Dietary Fiber: 9.9 g
          • Protein: 9.8 g

        Tropical Smoothie (No Yogurt)


          1 mango, peeled and diced
          1 orange, peeled with seeds removed
          3 kiwi, peeled and chopped
          3/4 cup diced pineapple
          2 cups fresh spinach
          1 scoop vanilla protein powder
          1/2 cup water


          Mix the protein powder into the water. Layer the rest of the ingredients in a blender, starting with the pineapple and mango, then the orange and kiwi, with the spinach the furtherest from the blade. Pour the protein powder and water over everything. Blend until smooth.
          Nutritional Info
          • Servings Per Recipe: 2
          • Amount Per Serving
          • Calories: 265.5
          • Total Fat: 1.8 g
          • Cholesterol: 20.0 mg
          • Sodium: 132.1 mg
          • Total Carbs: 57.7 g
          • Dietary Fiber: 10.8 g
          • Protein: 11.1 g

        Wednesday, October 3, 2012

        Zucchini Sausage Pasta

        Growing up in the country, or at least my part of North Dakota, meant you'd have an endless supply of two things: rhubarb and zucchini.  I don't think we could have gived it away if we wanted to.  Luckily, rhubarb freezes pretty well and we had quite a few recipes for zucchini.  This is a bit of a twist on something that we used to make to try using up some of the zucchini.  In the old version we used summer sausage and a quite a bit of it.  In this one I used turkey sausage, so it has the same sort of flavor, but less fat and calories.  For me and the husband, I add more of the zucchini to my bowl so he doesn't have as much.


          6 ounces pasta, cooked
          2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise then sliced into 1/4 thick half circles
          7 oz turkey link sausage, halved lengthwise then sliced into 1/4 thick half circles
          2 tablespoons light butter
          2 tablespoons flour
          1 tablespoon onion powder
          1 tablespoon garlic powder
          1 1/2 cup milk


          Cook the pasta according to the directions and set aside.
          In a large pan, lightly saute the sausage and zucchini together for about five minutes, just until the zucchini started to brown. Set aside.
          Melt the butter in the same pan used to saute the sausage and zucchini. Add the flour, garlic and onion powders and stir until it forms a paste. Whisk in the milk a bit at a time to make sure there's no clumps. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add the sausage mixture and pasta. Toss to coat, let it sit on the heat until the sauce is the thickness you'd like.
          Nutritional Info
          • Servings Per Recipe: 4
          • Amount Per Serving
          • Calories: 324.6
          • Total Fat: 9.6 g
          • Cholesterol: 47.1 mg
          • Sodium: 552.3 mg
          • Total Carbs: 44.3 g
          • Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
          • Protein: 16.8 g