Tag Archives: light

Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

6 Aug

Last week all I could think about was the Garlic Mashed Potato Pizza from Pizza Luce.  Like an earworm, I knew it would stick there until I did something about it.  I had two options: 1) Drive 90 miles to get some, 2) Make it.  I decided to make it.  All I needed was crust, garlic mashed potatoes, tomatoes, green onions, and tomatoes.  Of those ingredients, I had none, so I had to make do with what I had.

And it is not a real hardship to make do with what you have, when what you have is some goat cheese.

I started out with a pita flatbread.  You can use any variety or size, the one I like is not too dry and around 190 calories.  You can use whatever kind you like, just make sure it is strong enough to hold a big pile of ingredients.  Next, I swapped out garlic mashed potatoes for some pureed cauliflower with garlic.  The consistency is different than mashed potatoes, but not by a whole lot.  Plus, cauliflower is high in calcium, and one serving (2 slices) of this flatbread provides half of the amount of calcium you should consume in a day!  I added a bit of olive oil and goat cheese to the cauliflower mixture to make it taste a little creamier, then mixed in chopped rosemary to give it great flavor.  It looked a little bland, so I threw a few kalamata on the top, and added some extra goat cheese.  If you wanted to cut back on some of the calories, you could leave off the last bit of goat cheese, but it only saves you about 40 calories, and I think its worth it.

This dish would make an excellent starter, would pair well with a salad or bowl of soup, and makes an excellent dinner.  Even if you ate the whole thing all at once, not that I would know (I would totally know).

Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, & Goat Cheese
Serving size: 2 pieces
Serves: 2


8” flatbread pita
1 c. cauliflower florets
1 clove garlic
2 t. olive oil, divided
2 oz. goat cheese, divided
1 t. fresh rosemary
3 kalamata olives, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a microwave safe bowl, add cauliflower and garlic, cover with water and microwave for 4 minutes.  Drain, and place cauliflower and garlic in a food processor.  Add half of the olive oil, and pulse until mostly smooth.  Remove from food processor, and mash in half of the goat cheese and all of the rosemary.  Add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the flatbread on a cookie sheet and top with the cauliflower mixture, spreading it out to cover.  Top pizza with the olives and the rest of the goat cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the goat cheese just starts to brown.

Remove from the oven and cut into quarters.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.


Estimated calories:  484 cal/serving

Print it: Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

Herbvocado Sauce

1 Aug

In the past few years, Greek yogurt has gone from relatively unknown to everybody’s food BFF.  It’s in EVERYTHING.  And while I like the way it tastes with a little fruit and honey, I find it to be way too sour for my taste to eat it plain.  Even when used in place of sour cream in recipes, it still seems a too sour.  BUT, it is so packed with protein and low in calories that I keep trying to find ways to work it into my diet.  And you know what makes everything better?  No, this time the answer is not bacon, but bacon’s championship counterpart THE AVOCADO.

Creamy and fat tasting, an avocado proved to be just what the Greek yogurt needed to help counter the sourness.  With a garden-load of fresh herbs staring me in the face, I decided to throw some in to add flavor and texture to the sauce.  The result is a thick, flavorful, healthy, protein-packed dip.  Describing it to my son, he said that Greek Yogurt Sauce with Avocado and Fresh Herbs would take so long to say that no one would want to eat it.  He said that if it were him, he’d give it a better name.

Herbs + Avocado = Herbvocado. Kid named, mom approved.

So far, I’ve used this sauce as a dip for vegetables, meatballs, and to top a burger.  It would be great used in place of ranch or blue cheese and served with hot wings.  Add a little water to the dip to thin it out and it would make an excellent salad dressing or a sauce drizzled over grilled vegetables.  It is versatile, light, and delicious.

Herbvocado Sauce
Serving size: 1/4 c.
Serves: 6

6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor add avocado, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice. Pulse until starting to blend together. Add Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth. Remove from food processor and add herbs, stirring until well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Estimated calories: 62 cal/serving

Print it:  Herbvocado Sauce

– The amount that this recipe makes will vary slightly based on the size of the avocado.
– Each 1/4 c. serving of this dip contains around 3.5 g of protein.  That’s as much as half an egg a 1/4 c. of cooked beans!  For dip!

Corn, Black Bean and Tomato Salad

29 Jun

The best thing about watching the kids play baseball four nights a week is that we’re outside watching baseball.  The worst thing is that we have a very small window to get home, ready for baseball, and eat dinner.  The eating dinner part of this is particularly tricky because it needs to be ready, quick to eat, and something everyone will eat because there’s no time for dilly-dallying at the dinner table while we have an EAT YOUR DINNER SHOWDOWN.  Last night I made a cold salad that I considered to be the ultimate meal – a base that everyone would enjoy, hidden protein, and lots of extra toppings to meet the needs of the picky palates at my table.  A cold salad featuring corn (everybody’s favorite), black beans, and tomatoes topped with a light honey-lime dressing.  The dressing is really nice, a little sweet and kind of tangy; it has the kid friendliness of French dressing with the added benefit of not being French dressing.  As I pulled out the bowls and encouraged everyone to DISH UP and ENJOY, I started to hear the words I dreaded most.

I hate black beans.
Are the tomatoes already mixed in?
Is there anything else?
Why isn’t this a pot pie?

Using the words that I knew their baseball coaches would later in the night, I told them to HUSTLE and GET GOING and NOT EVERYTHING IS A POT PIE (okay, no baseball coach is likely to say this, but they could because it is totally true).  I loved the dish, adding radishes and Sriracha to mine.  Martin said that it was edible, and liked the dressing even though the tomatoes contaminated the rest of his food.  And Sophie begged me to never to make it again.

Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad
Serves: 8
Serving Size: 1/2 c.

15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz bag corn, steamed, rinsed, and drained
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Diced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced radishes
Sliced green onions
Shredded lettuce
Corn chips

In a large bowl, mix together black beans through salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  For best flavor, refrigerate for an hour before serving.

As is, this makes a nice side dish.  Add avocado, cilantro, radishes, green onions, or jalapenos if desired.  If serving as a main dish, serve in a bowl, over lettuce, in tortillas, or with corn chips.  Top with salsa or sriracha for extra kick.

Estimated Calories:  138 cal/serving

Print it: Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad

Sriracha Shrimp with Steamed Coconut Rice

21 May

There are many nights when I sit, staring out the window and wish that somebody would drop off a bag of food.  It would be exactly what I didn’t know I wanted, from a restaurant that made excellent food and was conveniently located nearby.

On those nights, while I’m waiting for my food miracle to arrive, this might be my new go-to dish.  It is super easy, delicious, and practically cooks itself while I’m staring out the window.

Sriracha Shrimp with Steamed Coconut Rice

To prepare the rice part of this dish, I used a vegetable steamer with a rice insert.  I picked up an inexpensive one at Target this winter and I LOVE it (Model: Black and Decker).  To make the coconut rice, simply mix together the uncooked rice, water, light coconut milk and veggies, then add water, cover and leave alone until the timer goes off.  THAT’S IT.  The rice has a very mild flavor, isn’t sticky, and because it was cooked in the steamer it was easy to throw a few veggies in there and save myself a little effort.  With just a few minutes of prep and 35 minutes of doing something else, the rice and veggies are ready to eat.  AWESOME.

The shrimp part of this dish is SPICY.  Depending on your tastes, you could add more (to burn your face off) or reduce it.  Take note, there’s also a lot of garlic in here, which adds to the spice and also gives you pretty potent breath.  This might be good for the nights when you are sitting home, staring out the window BY YOURSELF.

The rice part of this dish would make an excellent side for all kinds of food.  The shrimp will be far too spicy for my kids, but I’d bet the rice will be popular.

Sriracha Shrimp with Steamed Coconut Rice
Serving size: 3 oz. shrimp + 1 c. rice
Serves: 4

1 c. Texmati rice
1/2 c. diced carrots
1/2 c. frozen peas
3/4 c. water
1/2 can light coconut milk
12 oz. shrimp (tails removed)
1/4 c. onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
2 T. water
1 T. Sriracha
1 T. Worcestershire
Salt and pepper to taste

In a rice steamer, add rice, carrots, peas, water, and coconut milk.  Stir to mix.  Cover and steam for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together remaining ingredients and shake or stir to coat.  Let marinate while the rice mixture is cooking.  When the rice is done, add the shrimp mixture to a skillet over medium-high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp is done.

Fluff the rice, then divide between four bowls, then divide the shrimp, placing it on top of the rice.  Serve extra Sriracha on the side.

Estimated calories:  360 cal/serving

Print it: Sriracha Shrimp and Steamed Coconut Rice


  • If you don’t have Texmati rice, Basmati or any other long grain white rice would be a good substitute.
  • I used cooked, frozen shrimp because that is what I had on hand.  Fresh would be better.

Skinny Margarita

4 May

Like many other holidays with which I have no personal affiliation, I love to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. And by celebrate, I mean planning elaborate, home-made ethnic meals and then getting too tired to make them, requiring me to run out and pick up some take out that loosely relates to the holiday.  And because it happens so regularly, it is pretty much a set-in-stone tradition.

This year, we’re mixing it up from the usual six-pack of tacos and picking up a Taco Grande Pizza from Papa Murphy’s.  We tried it, and dude, it tastes exactly like a taco.  Martin preferred it as a cold leftover for breakfast, and then again later as a cold leftover for lunch and dinner.  The guy liked it cold, what can I say.

Whether you are picking up take out or whipping up a batch of homemade tortillas on which to serve the pulled pork and pico you made this afternoon (please invite me over), I would highly recommend making a batch of these.

Skinny Margaritas

Margaritas always sound like such a good idea until you’ve consumed two, have a stomach ache, and realize you’ve just consumed about 1,500 calories.  And that doesn’t even count the chips and guac that you may or may not have eaten while knocking back the margaritas.  This recipe cuts WAY back on the calories, is light and refreshing, and does not require pulling out the blender (although you certainly could).


Skinny Margarita
Serving size: 5.5 oz.
Serves: 2


3 oz. tequila
0.11 oz packet sugar-free lime margarita drink mix
8 oz. club soda
2 lime slices

Combine  tequila and lime margarita drink mix.  Add club soda and stir.  Divide between two glasses filled with ice.  Add a slice of lime to each, and serve.

Estimated calories:  111 cal/serving

Print it: Skinny Margarita

– There might be many brands of lime margarita drink mix, I picked mine up at Target.

Broiled Grapefruit with Pecans and Honey

27 Mar

As far as I’m concerned, the primary purpose for grapefruit is to make juice so a person can have a Greyhound once in awhile.  Other than that, I liken its consumption with penance, especially when combined with cottage cheese.  Until this week, that is, when my mom dropped off a few and they took over the fruit bowl.  Not wanting to waste them, I decided to give them a try and in the process have discovered one of my new favorite things.

Broiled Grapefruit.  

Much like people, the bitter side of grapefruit needs to be tempered a bit with some sweetness.  Before broiling, I added a bit of sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the open side of the grapefruit which when heated, created a slightly glazed and sweet surface.  After just a few minutes under the broiler, the grapefruit was warmed, sweeter, and ready for more toppings.  I added some raw pecan halves and drizzled the whole thing with honey.  The result was a really nice combination of textures and tastes.  For around 100 calories and with only a few minutes of prep, this would be great for a light weekday breakfast, or perfect to make on the weekend for a group of guests as a hearty, healthy side.

Broiled Grapefruit with Pecans and Honey
Serving size: 1/2 grapefruit
Serves: 2

1 grapefruit, halved
1/2  t. sugar
Dash cinnamon
12 raw pecan halves
2 t. honey

Cut the grapefruit in half and remove any visible seeds.  Run a knife along the sections to loosen the grapefruit from the membranes, and between the grapefruit and the peel.  Sprinkle the flesh side of the grapefruit with 1/4 t. sugar and a dash of cinnamon.   Place both halves, flesh side up in a pan.

Place the grapefruit under the broiler.  I like to start on low for 2-3 minutes then turn it up to high until the edges just start to turn brown, leaving the oven door open a crack so I can keep a watchful eye on the grapefruit.  When it starts to brown, remove the grapefruit, add a few pecan halves to the top and drizzle with honey.

Serve in bowls for easier scooping.

Estimated calories:  105 cal/serving

Print it: Broiled Grapefruit with Pecans and Honey

Spring Rolls

9 Jan

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  For me, they are usually a long list of things I think I ought to do instead of the things that actually get done.  The notable exception to this is the year I resolved to pair up socks before putting them away.  Totally manageable, and not so hard to achieve and repeat.  So this year, instead of making a resolution that is hard to set into regular action, I’ve decided to give myself a challenge.  Introducing, the 2012 10 Food Challenge.  My goal is to make my way through the following two lists.

Six Items I’ve Never Made Before:
1. Beef Wellington
2. Spring Rolls
3. Non-Dairy Banana Cream Pie
4. Sunday Gravy
5. Spatchcocked Chicken
6. Croquembouche

Four Items, A Search for the Ultimate Recipe:
1. Hamburger Buns
2. Pizza Crust
3. Pizza Sauce
4. Italian Sausage, for Pizza

I’m worried about some of these more than others.  To start, I decided to tackle Spring Rolls – manageable ingredient list, not a ton of prep, and something my family will eat.

Turns out, Spring Rolls are not that hard at all.  Most of the ingredients can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble.  To me, this is a big deal.  Most nights the time between when I start cooking and when we eat is pretty short, so if I can have most of the work done ahead of time it makes dinner much less stressful.  One other thing I really liked about this recipe is that since each one is assembled separately, it makes customizing the spring rolls to the palate of the eater super easy.  For example, Sophie hates shrimp and cilantro and carrots and cucumbers, so I made hers without those items.  Martin hates rice wrappers, so he ate chicken and cucumbers while his Party Pizza was baking in the oven.  Please note: Party Pizzas are not in the ingredient list for this recipe, but it never hurts to have one on hand.

The thing that kept me from making Spring Rolls for so long is the rice wrapper.  How would I know when it was soft enough?  Could I assemble them without tearing the wrapper?  Would they hold together?  Like many things in life, I worried about this far too much.  Rice wrappers come in a package that looks a bit like a frisbee, and a quick soak in hot water is all it takes to turn the disk into a pliable wrapper.  For me, this transformation took about 15 seconds (longer as the water cooled).  I placed the soft wrapper on a flat surface, lined the ingredients in the middle, and folded over the top and bottom (see above).  Then, folded one long end completely over the ingredients in the middle and tucked and rolled until I reached the end.  I had a one roll learning curve to assembly confidence.

There are lots of variations on Spring Rolls, and this one is most like the Vietnamese variety.  However, I added more vegetables, and adjusted the sauce to be more like the one served at a nearby Thai restaurant.  So while not totally traditional, we thought they were delicious.  I think it is a very flexible recipe – feel free to add other vegetables, use beef or pork, or omit meat for a vegetarian roll.  As long as the ingredients are cut into strips and are cooked, it should work just fine.

Spring Rolls
Serving size: 1
Serves: 8

1/4 c. water
2 T. lime juice
2 T. sugar
1 T. fish sauce
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. sriracha
1/4 t. chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced

4 oz. chicken breast
1 oz. bean vermicelli
8 medium-sized shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined, halved lengthwise
2 c. lettuce, shredded
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2 c. carrots, julienned
1/4 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
8 rice wrappers

Place all of the sauce ingredients in the food processor and pulse until the garlic is finely chopped and everything is incorporated.  Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Cook chicken breast in a pot of boiling water for 5-7 minutes until fully cooked.  Remove and shred or cut into thin strips, set aside.  In still boiling water, add bean vermicelli and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove and drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.

Prep all other ingredients and set up like an assembly line.

Add very hot tap water to a large bowl.  Take one rice wrapper and place in the hot water and move it around so that it is fully coated.  The rice wrapper will begin to soften.  Remove the rice wrapper once it is just soft enough (a bit stretchy, flexible, but just before it starts to tear).  When the water is hot, this takes about 15 seconds, and a bit longer as the water cools.  Place the wrapper on a flat surface and add little bits of ingredients to the center.  Fold down the top and bottom sides, then fold over one remaining side to completely cover the ingredients.  Tucking as you go, roll as tightly as you can without tearing the wrapper.

Repeat with remaining rolls.  Serve with a side of sauce.

Estimated calories:  106 cal/serving

Print it: Spring Rolls

– Feeling nervous about the assembly part?  I was.  Until I watched this, then I felt ready to give it a go.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw-7pYq7wSc

Thai Turkey Salad

28 Nov

We had a terrific Thanksgiving and the brined turkey turned out great.  But, there were only six of us and we were left with quite a bit of turkey.  I love Thanksgiving leftovers as long as the stuffing holds out, but after that, anything that is left has to take on a new form.  On Thursday and Friday I ate primarily carbs, so when I woke up on Saturday, my body was crying out for FRESH, GREEN, and RAW.

The contents and flavors of this salad are based on Thai spring rolls.  I LOVE spring rolls, but never make them because they feel too tedious for me.  This salad takes some of the main ingredients (minus the noodles and spring roll wrapper) and stacks it up in a bowl, and the dipping sauce becomes a light dressing.  It is the perfect compromise for those times I really want the taste of a spring roll, but am too lazy to make them or drive the 20 miles it takes to get to the nearest restaurant that serves them.

Thai Turkey Salad
Serves: 4

4 c. lettuce
8 oz. turkey breast, diced
9 oz. bean sprouts
1 c. carrots, julienned
1/2 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 green onions, tops only, chopped
1/4 c. peanuts, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. water
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. sesame oil
1/4 – 1/2 t. crushed red pepper


Divide all of the salad ingredients between four bowls, layering lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, turkey, cilantro, green onions, and peanuts.

Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until the sugar is dissolved.  This can be made ahead of time.

Drizzle the dressing over each of the salads, season with salt and pepper,  and serve.


Estimated Calories:  170 cal/serving

Print it: Thai Turkey Salad

– This salad would be a great way to use any leftover meats, feel free to substitute cooked chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp in place of the turkey.  For a non-meat option, try garbanzo beans.
– I left the turkey cold for this salad, but you could serve the meat part of the salad warm if you prefer.
– The dressing was really good and would taste great on some steamed vegetables to make a nice light side.
– Do you add salt and pepper to your salads?  Up until about a year ago, I didn’t and was SHOCKED at how much better they were with a little salt and pepper.  It makes sense, since I add a little salt and pepper to most vegetables, but hadn’t considered it for salad.  See if you agree.
– If you are serving this for a larger crowd or as a side, it would look really pretty on a platter instead of in individual bowls.

Pheasant and Potato Soup

17 Oct

If you’re the kind of person that eats out at fancy restaurants, you may have ordered pheasant as a special treat. If you live in the Midwest are a hunter, or have a husband/father/brother/sister-in-law/husband’s uncle who hunts birds, you may have some in your freezer. If you fall into the second category, the idea of pheasant may not be as exciting to you as if you were in the first.

I’ve tried lots of pheasant recipes over the years and only once did it turn out great. Often it’s tough, or greasy, or gamey, or a combination of all three. The last time I made pheasant, no one would eat it. Not even one bite.

So now that it is fall, and hunting season is underway, it is a good time to line up some pheasant recipes that people will both EAT and ENJOY. Many pheasant recipes are heavy on the cream (or cream of mushroom soup), and since that doesn’t work at our house, I decided to try something a little lighter (and non-dairy). A broth-based soup, this recipe is light and packed with flavor. I wasn’t sure that I would like a soup made with pheasant, but thought it was wonderful and helped to reduce the gamey flavor that sometimes happens with wild birds.

Even though the soup was good, I still don’t like pheasant enough that I’d go out and buy some to make the soup. But if I had some in the freezer, I’d definitely make this recipe again to use it up.

Pheasant and Potato Soup
Serves 8

1 pheasant
4 quarts water
2 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, halved
2 bay leaves
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. peppercorns
1 slice pepper bacon (uncooked)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 slices pepper bacon
2 large carrots, sliced and halved (half moon shape)
1 onion, chopped
¼ t. caraway seeds
1 lb. red potatoes, halved and sliced 1/3” thick (half moon shape)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, place pheasant and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skimming off the white foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce heat and add celery, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, and bacon. Season lightly with salt and pepper, partially cover and simmer on low for 2 hours.

Remove pheasant and set aside to cool. Line a colander with cheese cloth and strain solids. Set aside broth. Remove breast meat from pheasant and chop into bite‐sized pieces. Set aside (or refrigerate until use).

In a soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon once crisp and set aside. Crumble bacon when cool. Add carrots, onion, and caraway seeds, cook until onion is softened. Add potatoes, cook for 1‐2 minutes then add 7 c. reserved stock. Bring to a boil, add reserved pheasant meat and crumbled bacon. Return to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Print it: Pheasant and Potato Soup

– This recipe starts out by making a stock – it was really easy and quite flavorful. I made a big batch of the stock by using two birds and doubling the rest. I’ll freeze the remaining stock and meat and save it for another time.
– In this recipe, I only used the breast meat. I found that while the rest of the meat on the bird was very tender, it was hard to make sure that there weren’t any little bones or inedible bits that were mixed in with the meat. The breast meat produced plenty for the soup. I tossed the rest.
– Watch out for shot. It does not make a good addition to any meal.