Category Archives: Recipe Makeovers

Taking a deliciously unhealthy recipe and tweaking it so that it is a little bit healthier

Losing It Lasagna Roll

Things are about to get crazy around here! I am having a wedding in exactly 13 days from today! We have all really been trying to watch what we eat around here so we can fit into our wedding day attire. We’ve had an abundance of veggies and PEACHES! (There is a peach farm on the way to Dallas on I45 which I have frequented at least once a week for some deliciously juicy, local, homegrown peaches. MMMMmmmm) We have also been parking at the very back of the parking lots to clock in just a few more walking steps in our day.

So with our upcoming event, we were in dire need of a yummy recipe that wouldn’t make us loosen our belts too much. I found this recipe for lasagna rolls with my whole foods app and just chose healthier ingredients so it was truly a guilt free meal. It is a really fun meal and not too terribly time consuming.

I made my own marinara sauce from scratch but did not post a recipe for it because I have no idea what I put in it! If you are feeling adventurous this evening, just google marinara recipes and you to may create an all veggies and herb sauce. Or if you don’t really have the time just go for an organic, healthy sauce that is low in sugar).

Ingredients:

8 to 10 uncooked 100% whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 C fat free ricotta cheese
1 1/2 C prepared marinara sauce
Baby spinach
1/2 C low fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until done. Drain water thoroughly and move noodles to a work space (you may want to pat the noodles dry and lay them out individually onto a sheet of wax paper so they don’t stick together).

3. Grease a small casserole dish and set aside.

4. Lay out all of your noodles length wise on your work space and spread about 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese and then 2 tablespoons of marinara on each noodle.

5. Lay out the spinach on top of the marinara and then roll each noodle snugly from one end to the other.

6. Arrange in the pan seam-side down to hold them together.

7. Pour remaining sauce over the noodles and then top with cheese.

8. Bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

And remember folks: It’s ALL about proportions!!! Did you hear me?? IT’S ALL ABOUT PROPORTIONS! Don’t eat all 8 in one sitting. Have one or two with a side salad and fruit for desert 🙂 Happy cooking!

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Fantastic Fajitas: Make a Bad Meal GOOD!

I LOVE to make bad meals good! It’s kind of like flipping a house. All you have to do is take a meal that is typically high in calories and make small changes to make it healthier.

Tonight on the menu is just a plain ole fajita, but I have to tell you that there was a unanimous vote that it was one of the best fajitas ever. I have to agree that it is quite tasty and rather easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

1. 2% Cheese
2. 100% whole wheat tortillas (I only go for the homemade ones!)
3. Fat Free, Organic, Plain Yogurt (Sour cream substitute – just trust me on this one. You won’t be disappointed.)
4. Homemade Guacamole*
5. Black Beans (Fresh is healthier but if you don’t tend to plan ahead like me then just go for the organic ones)
6. Grilled chicken
7. Tomatoes

Preparation:

1. Grill your chicken for about 8-10 minutes. I marinated my chicken in extra virgin olive oil, worcestershire sauce, and seasoned pepper.

2. Prepare your guacamole. I used 4 small avocados, 1/2 chopped tomato, 1/4 finely chopped red onion, juice from 1 lemon, and garlic salt and seasoned pepper to taste.

3. Lay out your tortilla.

4. Pile on the fixins! Especially the beans and veggies.

Beans

Guacamole

“Sour Cream” (you don’t have to hold back this time because it’s fat free yogurt!)

Tomatoes

Cheese

Chicken

Making small choices like substituting whole wheat for white tortillas, 2% for regular cheese, yogurt for sour cream, and black beans for re-fried beans can make a big difference! It’s all about the small choices. Enjoy!

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The One Thing Betty Crocker & I Agree On

Dearest Betty Crocker does have a lot going for her; however, she does tend to push my numbers on the scale. I usually try to keep my distance from any of her recipes because they cost me a lot even though they all taste fabulous! But today she just might redeem herself for this recipe. Of course I had to tweak it just a little bit because after all, she doesn’t really know any better. So here’s her version of a healthy pasta salad. I changed the pasta to 100% whole wheat as always.

Dressing:
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 C rice vinegar
2 T water
2 T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sesame oil (I didn’t have this on hand so I just left it out)

Salad:
2 C uncooked rotini pasta
A handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 of a medium cucumber diced
4 green onions chopped
1 small red pepper diced (this really makes the flavor in my opinion)
1/4 C chopped ripe olives

Directions:
1. Cook pasta as the package instructs.
2. While the pasta is cooking thoroughly combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
3. Place drained cooked pasta in a large bowl.
4. Add all vegetables and combine.
5. Drizzle the dressing over the pasta and mix thoroughly.

Delicious!

Footnote: The dressing is actually what I put on all my salads. It is very healthy and low in fat.

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Fries, Nuggets, and Milkshakes

Did I get your attention??

In the world of food, these three words are typically considered: junk food, comfort food, or fat day foods. As delicious and wonderful as they may taste, they usually bring nothing but trouble. In fact, the majority of us only resort to a meal made of these ingredients during desperate times.

In my wild and unruly days, you could find me on occasion in a parking lot, crouched down below the steering wheel on my lunch break to stuff my face with the greasy goodness of a large french fry and 6 piece chicken nugget. I could then effortlessly wash it down with a quick gulp of a vanilla milkshake. This little routine was then followed by a sneaky maneuver to hide the evidence in an abandoned trashcan behind the building before I went back in. Why you ask? Because I knew deep down inside that nothing I was eating, in any shape or form, was beneficial or good for me.

So for the past few years, I have been on a quest to find a healthy substitute for every piece of junk food out there. I think I have just about succeeded in this mission. I have even found an organic version of oreo’s called Newman O’s that taste almost exactly the same! Even though some of these substitutes don’t exactly have a nutritional benefit, they do not contain ingredients that could potentially be harmful or unhealthy. We should all be striving to consume only foods that will benefit our overall health.

My challenge for you is to choose an unhealthy food that you just can seem to escape and look for a healthy alternative for it. You can let me know what it is you just can’t shake and I’ll try to help you come up with something. Leave a comment about what you find.

Today I have 3 of my favorite junk foods from the past. I have made over these foods to provide some nutritional benefit as well as to curb any junk food cravings. First up is our sweet potato french fries. These are amazingly delicious and so nutritious!

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients for 2 servings:

1 sweet potato peeled and cut into small fries
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t dried parsley
A few dashes of cayenne pepper

Directions:

1. Toss uncooked sweet potato fries with olive oil.
2. Combine seasonings in a separate bowl.
3. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over sweet potatoes and then toss with hands until dispersed evenly.
4. Spread fries evenly onto a greased baking sheet.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 15 minutes.
6. Turn fries over with a spatula and then bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Hint: Make sure the fries are about the same size and keep a close eye on them in the oven so they don’t burn.

Dipping sauce: I combined equal amounts of organic grey poupon and organic honey.

Next on the menu is one of my favorite recipes. This recipe was taken from Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious, and made without any alterations. I love the fact that she uses vegetables in everything she cooks! She is revolutionary and a model to follow.


Chicken nuggets

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat, white or panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 tbs. grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 cup broccoli, spinach, sweet potato or beet purée (I used spinach)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tbs. olive oil

Directions:

1. Combine first six ingredients in a bowl, and mix well with your fingers.

2. In shallow bowl, mix purée and egg with a fork and set bowl next to bread crumb mixture.

3. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Dip chunks into egg mixture and toss in bread crumbs until coated.

4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. When skillet is hot, add oil. Place chicken nuggets in skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut into a piece to check that it’s cooked through.)

For desert is one of my favorite things: banana milkshakes! My Memaw used to make these for me when I visited in the summer. It is truly my most favorite comfort food and I refuse to give it up! This is why I have come up with an alternative that just about tastes like the real thing.

Banana Milkshake

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
1 heaping spoonful of organic, fat free, plain yogurt
1/4 cup Low fat milk
Sonic ice (I know this seems silly and unnecessary but I really believe that this type of ice makes it less watery and have more of a milkshake texture)
1 t organic peanut butter (optional)

Directions:
Blend banana, yogurt, and milk on low. Slowly add ice until it resembles a milkshake-like texture and taste. You may add the peanut butter for some added protein.

Hope ya’ll enjoy these recipes as much as I do!

P.S. I have really been slacking on the posts due to my upcoming graduation in May and wedding in August! After I graduate I will be posting much more regularly.

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Granola Bars

You’re in for a treat today! I made some of the best granola bars I have every had in my life! They are pretty simple to make and are just delicious. Granola bars are one of those foods that are just never as healthy as they should be. With basically only oats and dried fruit you would think extra sugars and additives would not bet necessary. Just check the ingredient list on some of your favorite granola bars and you’ll find all kinds of ingredients that are not necessary.

This recipe is actually derived from a Barefoot Contessa recipe. I made a few changes by removing some of the sugar and they are still plenty sweet and tasty!

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened) – if all you have is sweetened coconut don’t use it.
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2 T unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 t vanilla abstract
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates (Don’t leave these out! I’m afraid they would be too bitter without them.)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions:

1. Toss the almonds, coconut, and oatmeal together on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Stir occasionally.

2. Transfer oatmeal mixture to a mixing bowl and add wheat germ.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

4. In a small saucepan, add butter, honey, vanilla, and salt and bring to a boil. Constantly stir for one minute and then pour over oatmeal mixture.

5. Add dates, apricots, and cranberries.

6. Pour mixture into a baking pan that is lightly buttered and lined with parchment paper.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until light brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours. They will be more chewy than hard.

They smell absolutely wonderful! Make sure you let them cool before eating and DON’T you dare eat the whole thing in one sitting!!! I know it’s tempting! 🙂

More healthy recipes coming soon! I’ll be coming up with a lot a new ones to keep me in shape for my upcoming wedding in September!!

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