Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spinach Summer Squash Fritters

Happy #NationalSpinachDay !

On week 3 of my mission to clear out the freezer, and today I'm using the last of my grated summer squash to make some yummy fritters.  Fritters, it turns out, are something I'm pretty good at just tossing together, and this batch might be my best.

I'm also using up the last of my edible sage flowers, resulting in a sweet, savory treat with just enough salt to balance.  I could have eaten them all in one sitting!



1 cup summer squash, grated
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
1 egg
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1 oz. onion, diced small (about 1 of the small kitchen onions)
1 tsp. dried sage flowers (or 1/2 dried sage)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup fat free crumbled feta


  1. In a bowl, combine everything but the flour and mix well.  Once completely combined, add in flour and mix until combined.
  2. Spray your large skillet with cooking spray, well.  I use coconut oil cooking spray.  Alton Brown says it's OK.
  3. Drop batter in lumps and press down likely to make your disks.  They should be thicker than a pancake, but not by much.  I also use this time to take a spoon and press the edges in to clean them up a bit.  
  4. Once golden on one side, flip, and press down with spatula to flatten a bit more.
  5. Remove to paper towel and cover until ready to serve.  
  6. I recommend serving with a big dollop of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt!

Makes 9 fritters at 43 calories a piece.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Seafood Fried "Rice"

There's nothing pretty about fried rice, but it is so delicious.

This recipe is great for a day when you have few calories left, but are starving.

This fried rice is made with cauliflower, and if you don't tell anyone, they'll never know. And that comes from a certified cauliflower hater.



3 oz. pre-cooked shrimp
2 sticks imitation crab
1/4 cup frozen peas
10 oz. frozen cauliflower
2 oz. onion, diced
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
Cayenne to taste (optional)
1 egg

  1. Set seafood in cold water to thaw.
  2. In skillet, with a bit of water, cook onion until tender.
  3. While onion cooks, microwave frozen cauliflower for 4 minutes.  
  4. A handful at a time, pulse cauliflower in blender or food processor until ricey.
  5. Add cauliflower in with onion. 
  6.  Add one Tbsp. of soy and the peas.
  7. Beat the egg with a fork, and microwave the egg in a bowl about 1 minute.  Not completely cooked. Break up with fork.
  8. Drain seafood, remove tails, and chop imitation crab.
  9. Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the pan, and stir frequently until all warmed through.
  10. Serve immediately.

360 calories, easily serves 2 at 180 each.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Steak & Cheese Portobellos

I saw super cheap portobello mushrooms this week, and while I dried half for another day, these 2 made it to a quick lunch table.  I'm trying to prep meals the night before that I can cook fast on my 50 minute work break, and decided this would be a good use for a filling mushroomy meal.

These bad boys were ready to go, on a piece of tinfoil and everything.  Just have to pop them in the oven and wait patiently.



2 small portobello mushroom caps (about 3 oz.)
3.5 oz. sliced steak (I used leftover, grilled steak)
2 mini sweet peppers, sliced
2 slices reduced fat, part skim mozzarella
1 stalk of green onion
1-2 Tbsp. ketchup

  1. Clean your mushrooms and dig into the gills and stem a bit.  Just put it all back in.
  2. Layer with peppers, then steak, and finally cheese.
  3. Bake in convection oven for about 10 minutes, until cheese is golden, on whatever setting you use for re-heating pizza.  I use 250F.
  4. Serve with green onion and ketchup.  All of the flavor of a steak and cheese, without the bread.

345 calories for 2

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Pi Day! Shortbread Pie Crust for One

3.14 is Pi Day, and we're going to celebrate by tossing together a quick, simple little rustic pie crust for one.



1 Tbsp salted butter, softened
1/2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour, unbleached
cinnamon and ginger to taste

  1. Combine butter, confectioner's sugar, and flour.  Knead until soft dough forms.  Add in a bit of spices.
  2. Section off a bit for making a small decorative cookie for the top. Press the rest into ramekin or mini pie pan.  No need to butter-the dough has enough.  Poke holes with fork in bottom.
  3. Bake at 350F for 10-15 min, until golden. The cookie can be cooked on a little piece of tin foil, but will take closer to 6-8 min.
  4. Cool.  
  5. When ready for pie, fill shell with any pre-made pie filling, sweetened Greek yogurt, etc. and enjoy!

Seen here with 1/3 cup Lucky Leaf Peach Pie Filling. I just scoop n the filling, and let it warm in the bowl while I do clean up.

Crust is 167 calories.

As seen: 250 calories


Single Serving Greek Yogurt Waffles

Some days I want a real, old fashioned breakfast.  I don't completely give in, but here's a simple way to have your waffles and eat them too.



2 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt, plain or vanilla, nonfat
2 Tbsp. self rising flour

  1. Stir until sticky dough forms.  Separate into two balls, and place in the middle of 2 squares of your waffle machine, greased.
  2. Makes 2 mini waffles, smaller than an ego, but thicker for 65 calories total.

As seen with blood orange and 1 Tbsp. Wegman's lite butter flavored syrup 160 calories for breakfast!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sweet Molasses Pear Muffins with Pecans

As I'm going through my trove of freezer goods, I realize a lot of space is being taken up by those not-as-tasty heirloom pears.  It was time to try to put them to use.

So, I cooked them down, pureed them, and now I have 5 cups of pear puree to cook with. How you ask?  Well, it's super simple. Toss the pear (or apples) into the pot cut up in chunks.  Add enough liquid to put bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch in water. Simmer until mushy and reduced. Then toss them in your blender or food processor, and add more liquid as needed to get it smooth and the consistency of baby food.

I thought I'd try modifying some of the various applesauce bread recipes, and see what happens. I decided to go vegan, because I had promised something vegan earlier in the week, and then ruined it with eggs.

These were warm and sweet and spicy and so good.  I'm going to be toasting and buttering them all week.  And they're super low-cal for a muffin!


1 1/4 cup pear sauce or puree
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp powder
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, Bragg's
2 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
1.25 oz. chopped pecans

  1. Combine in order, until flour.  
  2. Once mix is frothy, stir in flour by 1/2 cups, careful not to over stir.  
  3. Then fold in pecans.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 min. until golden, fluffy, and bounce back when touched. The toothpick test will lie.  You must go by bounciness.

It's ok if they're a bit rubbery when they come out-that happens when you're doing oil free baking.  Simply toss them in a ziploc baggie. Tomorrow morning they'll be moist and wonderful.

Makes 16 muffins at 135 calories each.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Roots and Feta Skillet

Sometimes simple is better.

I'm trying to use up the frozen veggies still.  I'm calling it the No-cery Experiment.  Starting last week, I have a few kitchen staples I'm allowed to buy, but everything else food-wise has to come from the house.

It's a bit limiting, but it's resulting in some goodies around the place.  I have a door full of chicken stock/broth, made brownies with pears, and have some plans for this weekend.

This super easy skillet is a nice go to for rainy, cold, blah mornings. It's pretty, and filling, and the sweet and salty is devine.



4 oz. sliced beets
4 oz. sliced radishes
2 pieces of low sodium, lower fat bacon
1 stalk green onion
1 Tbsp. fat free feta

  1. Fry up your bacon and set aside to drain.
  2. Drain off most of fat from pan, and store for use another day.
  3. In the remaining drippings, fry beets and radishes until radishes have golden edges and are fork tender.
  4. Chop up bacon, and stir bacon and green onion in.
  5. Plate and sprinkle with feta.

122 calories for 1 serving.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pomaceous Brownies

My father has an heirloom pear tree.  The pears, for the most part, are pretty wretched.  People often forget heirloom means "before we bred them into tasty treats."  He uses them for alcohol, and only the universe knows what else. I, however, decided to use them as food.

In some things, this turned out to be good.  Pears in beets, for example, is delicious.  But the pear sauce I made was super gritty, because yey heirloom, and despite being yummy and delicious, I just can't get myself to eat it.  So, I froze it for later.

I'm doing a thing right now where I only allow myself to buy a very, very small amount of staples for the kitchen right now.  Trying to clean out the freezer and reassess my food budget. And there, low and behold, was the last of the frozen pear sauce.  I had to come up with something to do with it.

So, I spent the morning researching applesauce brownie recipes, and I found this one, which I them proceeded to mostly ignore.  I figured the texture of a brownie and nuts should hide the grit, especially if I glazed them.  That being said, you can sub in apple sauce rather than the pear sauce.

The result-a decadent, dense, rich, low cal brownie no one would suspect of anything. Muahahaha.



1/2 cup pear sauce
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
1/4 ts. salt
1/2 cup Hershey's baking cocoa
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached, sifted
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

  1. Combine wet ingredients one at at a time in order written.  
  2. Once thoroughly combined, add in flour.  
  3. Stir until blended, but don't over stir.
  4. Line 8x8 pan with foil, and grease well.  
  5. Pour in batter, and smooth out.
  6. Bake at 350F for 30 min, until bounced back when touched.
  7. Frost

For frosting, I used my standard.

3/4 cup. + 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. Hershey's baking cocoa
1-2 Tbsp. so delicious coconut milk
1 Tbsp. salted butter (can sub solid coconut oil)

  1. Layer, sugar on bottom, butter on top and microwave until butter melts.  
  2. Then use a hand blender to blend quickly.  
  3. Add a bit more coconut milk if needed.
  4. Pour over brownies and smooth out.  
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Brownies are 218 calories each for 9!

Un-frosted brownies are 137 calories each! So feel free to play with your toppings.

Confetti Breakfast Skillet

On a cold, dark day, sometimes you need a bit of color to get you going. This skillet isn't just pretty and sunshiney.  It's also packed full of vitamins to get you going!



3.5 strips bacon, low sodium
8 oz. radish, chopped
3 oz. sweet pepper, sliced
1 oz. onion, sliced
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes

  1. Cook your bacon.  Drain off most of the grease and store.  Drain bacon, and cut it into bite size pieces.  Set aside.
  2. Toss in the radishes and onions.  Brown.  
  3. Add in peppers just before finished and sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper flakes to taste.  
  4. I use the mini sweet peppers because they come in a bunch of colors.  I chop off the stem bit and keep it in my stock bag in the freezer too!
  5. Once peppers are softened, add in bacon and spinach and wilt spinach.

Serve immediately for 160 calories.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Simple Wild Rice and Chicken Soup and Vegetable Stock Bonus

I am having belly issues.  It happens sometimes.  Ever since I had my gall bladder out, it's been a tad touchy, and I've had some problems with a wee dysfunction in my bile duct that can cause horrific pain when it gets irritated.

I seem to have caught a bug, which has caused irritation, and is making life difficult this week.  Which is great, because I have a ton of work and a conference to present at this weekend.

Simple, bland food.  Well, not too bland.  Lots of flavor, less stomach upsetting ingredients. Also, a great opportunity to use up leftovers.



1 pre-cooked chicken drum stick, skin and bone removed.
1 pouch Simply Balanced Wild Rice or 2 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups homemade vegetable stock
garlic salt to taste
green onions to garnish.

  1. In a pot, bring stock to simmer.  
  2. Add in rice, green onions, and chicken.  
  3. Bring to boil and serve.

Make 5 servings, 90 calories each.

Vegetable Stock Bonus

In a ziplock bag in the freezer, over the course of a couple weeks I save all of my viable stock scraps: peppers, tomatoes, onion peels that are too close to the surface and have a bit of meat and peel to them, carrots, fennel, celery, garlic, the crunchy part of bok choy, etc.

  1. Simply combine everything in a large crock pot, cover with water, add a couple bay leaves, and other spices you might like. 
  2. I don't add any salt, because I'll do that when I make my soup of choice. You don't want a salty stock, for example, when you're making a soup with ham or bacon. 
  3. Once vegetables become nasty, soggy, wilty, colorless things, I strain it by placing a flour sackcloth over the bowl I will be using and then squeezing until I can stand to squeeze no more. For a large batch, I break it into 3.
  4. Once cool enough, I store in my large yogurt containers, 2 cups go in each and they're popped into the door of the freezer. I label them, and call it a day. 
  5. Once frozen, I pop them out, stack them in baggies, and then stack in the fridge. Veggie stock is about 18 calories per cup.