Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: low-fat

Healthy Slow Cooker Meat Sauce


Dennis and I have been eating out a lot now that I work through the dinner hour.  I finally got fed up with the unhealthy food and the weight gain we’re both experiencing, and decided to cook up enough real homemade food on my days off to last us for the week.  This meat sauce was the first thing I threw together, and Dennis was in heaven!

https://i0.wp.com/a4.l3-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/106/e4b697be95db4cacb0b570413a915d69/l.jpg

This is an old picture from 2009 but I had to include it. Dennis eats everything with chopsticks-he's obsessed!

I’m not completely back on the healthy bandwagon, but this meal is a good start. The sauce is hearty, flavorful & robust, and very low in fat. I chose to sweeten the sauce mainly with carrots, and you may find this balances the acidity of the tomatoes enough for your taste, but I decided to add some agave nectar to mine to sweeten it a little more. You could also try upping the carrots to 2 cups.

Serve this over whole wheat pasta along with a salad and you’ve got a nutritious, delicious meal!

Healthy Slow Cooker Meat Sauce

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 pound bison, venison, or lean ground beef
2 links mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups finely shredded carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 tablespoons agave nectar or sugar
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon garlic salt
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste

In a large skillet, cook the meat and onions until the meat is brown and the onions are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Do not drain unless you used meat with a higher fat content. If you used the suggested meat, you will have a little broth in the pan with only a tiny amount of fat, which I like to leave for flavor.

Meanwhile, add the undrained tomatoes and carrots to a 4-quart (or larger) slow-cooker and puree using an immersion blender (if you don’t have an immersion blender, do this with your regular blender). Stir in the tomato paste, agave nectar, oregano, basil, garlic salt, bay leaves, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Stir in the meat mixture and cover.

Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 10-12 hours, stirring caramelized sides back into the sauce. When complete, stir well, fishing out the bay leaves, and add salt to taste. Serve on top of your favorite pasta.

Recipe source: inspired by The Cooking Photographer

Advertisements

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Posted on

Did I scare you off with the word healthy?  For those who are still reading, I have a nice treat in store for you!  I whipped these babies up because I had some seriously overripe bananas begging to be used and also scored three pints of blueberries for $1.50 each at Aldi (love Aldi!).  These are healthy in every sense of the word: whole wheat, all-natural, sugar-free, and low fat.  Each muffin comes in at just 3 Points Plus.  And yes, they are quite delicious!  Maybe not delicious in the same way that a white, sugar-sweetened blueberry muffin with streusel topping is delicious, but delicious in a way that makes you happy not only in your mouth but in your overall sense of well-being.

I calculated the nutritional information for the recipe using both Truvia and sugar (since most people probably don’t have Truvia sitting around in their home), and either way the muffins come to 3 Points Plus.    If you like baking sugar-free, I encourage you to try Truvia because in my experience it acts like sugar in baking, unlike many substitutes.  (I’ve used it before in my Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and Apple Cake Mabel, both with excellent results.) It is all natural, coming from the stevia plant, so you don’t have to be scared of any side-effects.  There are none!  It is the only all-natural calorie-free sweetener out there (stevia, not Truvia.  There are many sweeteners made from stevia and Truvia is just one of them.)

I often complain to other bloggers when they fail to describe how their recipes taste because that is what I care about most when reading a recipe on a blog, so I’d better include my review too, lest those bloggers I’ve ticked off with my whining come back to haunt me. ;)  The banana flavor doesn’t come through at all on the first day, it just naturally sweetens the muffins and makes them moist without a lot of added fat. Somehow the banana flavor develops overnight because I could faintly taste it when eating the leftovers, which were just as good.  I also couldn’t detect the mace so I wouldn’t say it’s essential.  I just threw it in on a whim.  I thought the sweetness level was just right–not too sweet and not under-sweet.  The texture is very moist, tender, and the whole grain makes them a little more hearty than I’m used to, but they seem more wholesome for it, which I like.  The only thing I’d change next time is adding 1/2 cup more blueberries to make the muffins larger without changing the calories much (plus the blueberries add a lot of sweetness), and perhaps sprinkling a little sugar over the top of each before baking to make them prettier.  What I liked most was eating them warm so that the blueberries burst in my mouth and hot juice squirted out.  Oh, so delicious.

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 medium over-ripe bananas
½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons Truvia, or 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mace (optional)
1 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh blueberries (please try 1 1/2 cups!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper; set aside.   Get out your overripe bananas and peel them into a large bowl.

When I said I had overripe bananas, I meant really overripe.  There’s no reason why you can’t use black bananas in baking.  The older they are, the better they are for baking because they get sweeter and have more banana flavor (in this case, that doesn’t affect the flavor of the muffins but it’s great for banana bread).  You’ll only need three unless you’re doubling the recipe.  I happened to make this recipe twice because I put too much liquid and not enough flour in it the first time, so I was glad to have just the right amount of bananas to make another batch and perfect the recipe.

As you can see, the insides are nice and golden and very soft.

Mash ’em up.

Stir in the buttermilk, oil, Truvia (or sugar), vanilla, salt, and mace.

Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder, and stir until moistened but lumpy.

It doesn’t need to be any more mixed than this because you’ll be stirring it more when you add the blueberries.  The more you mix muffin batter, the tougher the muffins will be.

Stir in the blueberries.

Using an icecream scoop, divide the batter between prepared muffin cups. (I didn’t take any more pictures for some reason so just imagine one of the finished batter, and one of the filled muffin tin before baking. Thanks. :))  Bake 15-20 minutes, until done. Cool on wire rack for a few minutes before serving. Cool leftovers completely and store in a Ziploc bag or airtight container.

Makes 12 muffins.

Per muffin: 100 calories; 2.8 g fat; 17 g carbohydrates; 2.3 g fiber; 2.4 g protein; 3 Points Plus

Made with ½ cup sugar in place of Truvia: 133 calories; 2.8 g fat; 25 g carbohydrates; 2.3 g fiber; 2.4 g protein; 3 Points Plus

Recipe by Veronica Miller

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Posted on

Grilled cheese sandwiches paired with tomato soup seem to be childhood staples in America, but I never had a grilled cheese sandwich until I was a teen, and never with tomato soup until much later.  I remember when I went to babysit my neighbor’s little boy she asked me to make him a grilled cheese sandwich and I meekly asked her how to do it.  She was dumbfounded, needless to say.  That was my first grilled cheese experience, at sixteen, but after that I started making them at home.

No one gave me the memo that tomato soup pairs perfectly with them until a few years later, but I ignored it since I’ve never liked condensed tomato soup.  That is until I discovered Pacific Natural Foods’ Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup.  That’s when I started serving the classic combo of grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I loved that stuff!

This homemade version is thicker and a little tangier, perhaps because I used jarred red peppers and yogurt rather than roasting them myself and adding heavy cream or milk, but it is just as delicious with the benefit of a homemade taste.  Add more or less sugar to your tastes, and if you decide to use peppers you roasted yourself, please let me know how that turns out–that’s how I’m going to try it next!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with link

1 jar (12 oz) roasted red peppers in brine, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (28 oz) tomato puree/crushed tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium and fat-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
Croutons, for serving

Combine drained peppers and diced tomatoes in a blender. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, you can place them in your pot and use an immersion blender to puree until as smooth as you like. I left some little chunks in mine because I like a little texture. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, or just add it to the pot if your puree is already in it. Add pepper-tomato mixture, tomato puree, chicken broth, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat just to simmering, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt. Return to stove and heat through. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with a few croutons.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving:  139 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3.5 g protein.  (Calories calculated with 4 croutons per serving)

Recipe source: adapted from Family Circle, February 2011.

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala

Posted on

Biz from My Bizzy Kitchen has been taunting me with her chicken tikka masala for months.  And months.  It’s my favorite Indian dish of those I’ve had the opportunity to try at restaurants, so I’ve been meaning to make it at home for quite some time.  When Biz changed her recipe to lighten it up, replacing the heavy whipping cream with Greek yogurt, I knew it was time.  And I could not believe that it was even better than what I’ve had at restaurants!  Just like with the dal makhani, it was so good I couldn’t move on and had to bring it back to our menu a second week in a row.  Except this recipe is actually better than the dal makhani, IMHO.  Thank you so much, Biz, for sharing your wonderful recipe with us.  I’m paying it forward to you, my readers, so that you can enjoy it as well.  And you will–it’s simply divine!

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3/4 cup (6 oz) nonfat, plain Greek yogurt, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 small jalapeno, cut in half, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
6 dried red chili peppers
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce (I use a full teaspoon for more heat)

Mix half the yogurt the chicken, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper. Refrigerate and marinate for one hour. Melt butter in a skillet and add jalapeno pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons ground cumin, garlic, paprika, curry powder, sriracha sauce and stir for 2 minutes, until nice and fragrant. Add chicken and cook for five minutes, turning pieces half way through. Add tomato sauce and dried chiles and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.  Remove from heat, stir in remaining 3 ounces of Greek yogurt. Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 205 calories; 2.5 g fat; 13.7 g carb; 3 g fiber; 29 g protein

Recipe source: barely tweaked from My Bizzy Kitchen

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Posted on

Saturday is the one day of the week when I have all the time I want to prepare breakfast, so I tend to make them a little more special.  I created these pancakes to use up one of the quickly blackening bananas in my fruit basket, and they were just wonderful, especially with the addition of fresh banana slices on top.  The bonus is that they’re so light that you can have a stack of two or three without busting your calorie budget, if you care about such things.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

¾ cup quick-cooking oats
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup buttermilk powder*
1 tablespoon Truvia, or sweetener of choice
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water*
1 medium banana
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Measure oats, flour, buttermilk powder, Truvia, flax seeds, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Mash banana with a fork into a separate bowl and whisk in the egg. Add to dry mixture along with water and vanilla. Let rest for at least five minutes while you heat a skillet/griddle. Measure out batter using ¼ cup for each pancake and cook until dry around edges on first side before turning to finish cooking.

*You can use 1 cup regular buttermilk in place of the buttermilk powder and water.

Makes 12 pancakes. Per pancake: 71 calories; 1.3 g fat; 12.5 g carb; 2 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

Don’t forget to check out  Steph’s online bake sale today (January 31)!  It’s running from 7AM-9PM EST and this is your big chance to get your paws on a batch of my Mocha Toffee Brownies.  Good luck!

Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Latte


Happy Thanksgiving! OK, so I’m early, but I’m headed out of town for the holiday and won’t have internet access on the big day.  Before we head north, I’m going to share a little gem I’ve been enjoying often but have been selfishly keeping to myself.

I’m sure your jaw dropped when you read the “Skinny” part of the title since I have posted very few healthy or low-calorie recipes in the past several months.  Well, believe it or not, despite all the fattening stuff I post on here I’ve been working on losing weight since May and this delicious latte is one of the things that has helped me shed twenty-five pounds along the way.

I’m not a big coffee drinker but I absolutely adore this Pumpkin Spiced Latte and have been making it at least once a week since the beginning of October.  It is sweet, spiced with a hint of pumpkin flavor, and it’s soooo wonderful topped with whipped cream or, my recent favorite, gingerbread mallows.  For the above photo, I plopped them on top so you could tell what they were, but I prefer to put them in the empty cup, then pour the hot latte on top so that they begin to puff and melt (as in the photo below) and create a gingerbread flavored foam on top that I get a little bit of with each sip.

OK, I’m off to whip one up right now!  Today I’m grateful for so many things, including you.  Thanks for reading and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!  I’ll see you back here on Saturday when I announce the spices giveaway winner!

Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute (to taste)
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
fat-free whipped topping or gingerbread mallows
pumpkin pie spice for topping

In a small pan whisk together milk, pumpkin butter and sugar until pumpkin butter is completely dissolved in the milk. Continue whisking and cook on medium until boiling. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and coffee. Pour into a mug, add desired topping and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Serve hot.

Nutrition information (calculated without topping, using my own pumpkin butter (26.3 calories per tablespoon), and Splenda): Servings: 1 • Weight Watcher Points: 2 pts • Calories: 102.7 • Fat: 0.4 g • Sodium: 101.5 • Potassium: 418.1 • Carb: 17.8 g • Fiber: 0.5 g • Protein: 6.6 g

1/4 cup Cool Whip Free adds 30 calories, 4 gingerbread mallows adds 45 calories

Recipe source: Gina’s Skinny Recipes

 

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Posted on

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! I’m very proud of this creation because, like with the Banana Peanut Butter Bites (shared on my weight-loss blog), it’s all my own–I didn’t even do an internet search for recipe inspiration before throwing it together. This is very unlike me because baking is an exact science and if you don’t get the liquid to dry ratio right, you can end up with a dense, dry, or mushy result. I think I’ve finally been baking long enough that making my own recipes is becoming intuitive. This makes me happy.

I made this recipe with two goals in mind. I wanted it to be as healthy as possible while still being as tasty as possible. I’ve found with baking, the healthier you make a recipe, the more unpalatable the taste. Muffins, however, seem to be a lot easier to healthify without getting too healthy-tasting.

These muffins are low-fat, cholesterol-free, naturally sweetened, and are still moist and delicious.  The only concession I made for taste/texture over health was using more all-purpose flour than whole wheat because it yields a nicer, less dense & dry, crumb. The ripe mashed banana keeps the muffins moist without a lot of added fat and I chose to use agave nectar to sweeten them, since it’s natural and the flavor is so mild that it wouldn’t compete with the chocolate & banana flavor like honey or maple syrup might.  I also left out the egg since I had success with it before, and actually liked the texture better than when I had tried it with the egg, giving an added bonus of making the recipe cholesterol-free.

You could certainly turn this recipe fat-free and use more whole wheat flour, and I have done both (I have made three batches of these so far, each with a different amount of fat and liked the one here best). It results in a more rustic, dense muffin but we had no problem eating them up in less than a week. They are great in the morning with a steaming cup of coffee and I find that one muffin, especially with coffee or milk, keeps me satisfied for hours.

Let me know if you try these and what changes you made. I’d love your feedback!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture
Dutch process cocoa gives these muffins their deep dark color & chocolate flavor. You can find it online and in specialty stores, or you can get Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder at most supermarkets.

Dry ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon banana extract

And just for fun:
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium bowl and stir to mix. Whisk wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir dry into wet just until moistened, then fold in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. Divide batter between prepared muffin cups and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon chocolate chips in the very center of each muffin (chips will spread out as the muffins bake and rise). Bake about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of one. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container (I use a large Ziploc bag). These freeze very well–I like to take one out of the freezer before my shower in the morning and by the time I’m done getting ready for work & am ready to eat, it has thawed. If you are in a hurry, about 15-30 seconds in the microwave will thaw and warm your muffin for you.

Makes 12 muffins.

Nutritional Information (per muffin): 171 calories; 5 g fat; 33 carb; 3 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

These are from the fat-free batch with 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white. They were more dry and dense, but still yummy.

Secret Recipe Club

%d bloggers like this: