Posted in Appetizers, Side Dishes, Vegetables


Maybe you like hummus or maybe you don’t.  If you are one who does not like hummus, I invite you to try the recipe below.  I have always disliked hummus because it has some foul taste that has never been appealing to me.  However, a long time ago, I tried making my own and you know what?  I found out that like hummus (but only if I make it myself).  So think of this as trying green eggs and ham for the first time and decide for yourself. 

Even if you decide after trying this recipe that you still don’t like it, make sure to serve it to your friends because I know they’ll love it, just as everyone did this past holiday weekend.  You’ll come out looking like a hero for making homemade hummus.


Serves 8

Prep time: 10 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 130                                              Fat = 3 grams


2 (15 ounce) cans of chickpeas – rinsed and drained

Juice of ½ lemon

2 cloves garlic

½ cup fat free sour cream

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

¼ teaspoon coriander seeds

¼ teaspoon celery seed

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas thoroughly.
  2. Place chick peas in food processor and puree for 1 minute, scraping down the side.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and puree for 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature with bread, crackers or vegetables.
Posted in Grilling, Main Courses, Poultry, Vegetables

Life is Good when the weather gets hot…

We had a beautiful day of fun, sun and BBQ eats.  Last night I marinated chicken and this morning assembled the skewers.  Here is Sweet and Spicy Marinated Chicken Skewers…

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Skewers

Serves 6

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 255                                              Fat = 2 grams


½ cup ketchup

¼ cup honey

¼ cup chili sauce

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce*

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 pounds skinless/boneless chicken breasts

12 skewers

2 red bell peppers – cut into 1 inch pieces

2 large sweet onions – cut into 1 inch pieces

2 medium zucchini – cut into 1 inch pieces


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together ketchup, honey, chili sauce, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. 
  2. Cut chicken into 2-inch pieces and add to marinade.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Skewer vegetables and chicken pieces, alternating between onions, zucchini and peppers on each skewer.
  4. Heat grill and add chicken.  Grill for about 5 – 7 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through and serve.

*Can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store.

Posted in Dessert, Fruits

Fun and Colorful Dessert…

Mini Berry Cheesecakes

I made this dessert tonight in honor of Memorial Day.  It’s a delicious and colorful dessert that was inspired by a magazine recipe I found while I was having my hair done.  I am refrigerating it tonight and plan on serving it tomorrow.  If you notice in the picture, there are only 11 of them.  I couldn’t help but try it.  Given the taste I had today, I know it’s going to be a big hit tomorrow and expect that I will be serving this for the 4th of July too.

Enjoy your sweets without the guilt!

Mini Berry Cheesecakes

Serves 12

Prep time: 20 minutes, including decorating

Bake time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 185                                              Fat = 6 grams

Preheat oven 350o


1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons low calorie butter spread – melted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons sugar + ½ cup – separated

8 ounces low fat cream cheese- softened

8 ounces fat free cream cheese – softened

½ cup fat free sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ cup egg substitute

½ cup light whipped topping

¾ cup sliced strawberries

¾ cup blueberries


  1. In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs, butter spread, cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Press into the bottom of 12 cupcake liners placed in a 12 cupcake baking pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese and ½ cup sugar for 30 seconds on high speed.
  3. Add sour cream, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat for 30 seconds on high speed until combined.  Add egg substitute slowly while beating until combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners.
  5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Divide whipped topping evenly among cupcakes and decorate with fruit.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Posted in Dessert, Fruits

A perfect ending for your weekend entertaining menu…

This dessert is a great ending to your BBQ entertaining.  I have made this so many times in the past and it’s always a big hit.  The parents like it because it includes fruit and kids love it because it has cake, pudding and fruit.  What is there not to love?

Enjoy your Holiday Weekend!

Berry Trifle

Serves 12

Prep time: 30 minutes for assembly

Cook time: 12 minutes

Refrigeration time: 2 hours to overnight

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 215                                              Fat = 1 gram

Custard Ingredients:

½ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups skim milk

¾ cup egg substitute

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1.  Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan.
  2. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth, then egg substitute.
  3. Cook over medium heat, whisking gently, until mixture comes to a boil; about 7 – 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, whisking constantly for 1 minute longer. 
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. 
  5. Pour into bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the custard with the plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. 
  6. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Assembly Ingredients:

2 cups strawberries

11/2 cup blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons Chambord liquor (optional)

1 recipe of custard (recipe above)

1 baked angel food cake

Extra berries for garnish

Assembly Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, sugar and liquor and marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a trifle bowl (or a large clear round bowl), cut the angel food cake in the middle so that you have two pieces the same height (as if you are cutting a cake in half to frost the middle).  Cut a slit in the round cakes.  Place one half of the cake on the bottom of the cake bowl, then fit around the bottom of the bow, cutting out any extra cake.  Use the extra piece of cake and place in the middle to fill the hole at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Top cake with ½ of the pudding then top with ½ of the berries.
  4. Place the remaining cake on top of the berry layer, add berries on top of the cake layer then the remaining pudding berries.
  5. Garnish with the extra berries.

Tip: Depending on the size of your serving bowl, you may not need to use all of the cake.

Posted in Appetizers, Beef, Grilling, Vegetables

Memorial Day Weekend Entertaining – Part III of IV

Tonight’s recipes include Cucumber Yogurt Dip with grilled Flat bread and

Asian Marinated Grilled Steak.

Enjoy your BBQ while keeping weight management goals in check!

Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Prep time: 10 minutes

Refrigeration: overnight

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 124                                              Fat = 3 grams

Serves 8


½ European cucumber – seeded and grated

4 ounces low fat cream cheese – softened

½ cup fat free Greek yogurt

2 cloves garlic – minced

Salt to taste

4 Large pita breads

  1. Remove excess water from cucumber by placing it in a double layer of paper towels.  Twist the ends of the paper towel over the sink to allow the cucumber water to drain.
  2. In a bowl, fold in the cucumber, cream cheese, yogurt, garlic and salt.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  4. 5 minutes before serving, grill pita bread on the BBQ, cut into 8 wedges per pita and serve with chilled cucumber dip.

NOTE: if you cannot find flatbread, pita bread works just as well.

Asian Marinated Grilled Steak

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 minutes + overnight marinating

Cook time: 10 – 15 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 340                                              Fat = 8 grams


1/3 cup soy sauce

1 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

1 clove garlic – minced

¼ cup scallions – chopped

2 tablespoons ginger – minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

2 pounds London broil

1 tablespoon corn starch


  1. Whisk soy sauce, oil, vinegar and sugar in a bowl to dissolve sugar.  Add liquid smoke, garlic, scallions, ginger, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.  Combine with steak, cover bowl with wrap and marinate overnight.
  2. Remove steak from bowl and reserve marinade.
  3. Grill steak for about 7 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking.
  4. Transfer marinade to a sauce pot, whisk in cornstarch and cook on medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes).
  5. Cut steak across the grain and pour cooked marinade on top or serve on the side.
Posted in Grilling, Poultry, Sauces, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Memorial Day Weekend BBQ – Part II

These recipes offer a delicious BBQ menu while keeping your management goals in check.  I have cooked these two recipes for friends before and know that they are worthy of compliments.  The baked beans can be assembled the day before and just baked in the oven the morning of your BBQ blowout.  The chicken marinates overnight so the only thing you need to do on party day is heat up the grill and watch them cook while enjoying great conversation with your friends.

Enjoy the BBQ!!

Sorry that there are no pictures, my camera ran out of battery…

BBQ Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes + 1 hour to overnight marinating

Cook time: 15 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 240                                              Fat = 2 grams


1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

7 dashes Chipotle Tabasco sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon pepper

4 skinless chicken breasts with bone


  1. In a large bowl combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, coffee, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. 
  2. Add chicken breast and let marinate for at least an hour or overnight. 
  3. Heat outdoor grill to 425o and add chicken. 
  4. Cook chicken for about 7 minutes on each side or until done.

NOTE: If you’d like to serve the left over BBQ marinade sauce on the side, heat in a small pot and bring to boiling before serving it on the side.

BBQ Baked Beans

Serves 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 210                                              Fat = 1 gram

Pre heat oven 350o


1 large can (28 ounces) can of 98% fat free baked beans

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon honey

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon chipotle Tabasco sauce

1 small onion finely chopped

1 ounce bourbon

¼ teaspoon pepper

3 teaspoons garlic powder or 2 cloves fresh – minced


  1. Add all ingredients in a Dutch oven pot and mix gently. 
  2. Place in oven and cook for about 1 ½ hours then cook another ½ hour uncovered.
  3. Serve with beef, chicken or anything from the BBQ.
Posted in Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Memorial Day Weekend Menu – Part I of IV

Entertaining for the Holiday weekend?  If you’re stuck for ideas, the following four days of menu ideas may help.  Tonight, I offer an appetizer and side dish idea.  I cooked both tonight to make sure they were as good as I remember from last year’s BBQ season.  The best thing about both of these recipes is that they can be made the day before, leaving you more quality time with your friends instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

Enjoying delicious food without the guilt!


Roasted eggplant dip with toasted Italian bread


Cucumber Salad

Roasted eggplant dip with toasted Italian bread

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Serves 10

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cool down time: 2 hours before serving

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 200                                              Fat = 3 grams

Preheat oven to 450o.


2 Eggplants cut lengthwise


2 Cloves garlic – crushed

2 Tomatoes – seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon fresh basil – chopped

Pepper to taste

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 loaves of Italian Bread – cut into 12 slices per loaf

Olive Oil Cooking Spray


  1. Sprinkle salt on cut side of eggplants onto paper towels and “sweat” them out for about 30 minutes.  Rinse off salt. 
  2. Place aluminum foil on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.  Roast eggplants for about 45 minutes in oven until they are soft. 
  3. Let the eggplants cool on baking sheet for at least 30 minutes until they are easy to handle.  Scrape out the inside of the eggplants into a food processor and using the “pulse” button on the food processor, pulse about 5 times until eggplant is chopped. 
  4. Spray skillet with cooking spray and add tomatoes, eggplant, oregano, paprika, lemon juice, basil and pepper.  Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (about 10 minutes). 
  5. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cheese.  Allow to cool for about 2 hours.
  6. Toast Italian bread.
  7. Serve eggplant at room temperature with toasted bread.

Cucumber Salad 

Serves 10

Prep time: 5 minutes + 2 hours marinating

Refrigeration time: overnight

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 115                                              Fat = 2 grams


4 skinless cucumbers – thinly sliced

1 large sweet onion – thinly sliced

2 cups water

¼ cup salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

½ cup white vinegar


  1. Place cucumbers, onion, 2 cups water and ¼ cup salt in bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
  2. Heat sugar and 1 cup water until sugar dissolves. 
  3. Cool sugar mixture to room temperature and add oil and vinegar. 
  4. Strain and thoroughly rinse cucumbers and onion from salted water.
  5. Add cucumbers and onions to sugar water mixture. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.
Posted in Pasta dish, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Pasta side dish…

Orzo with Goat Cheese and Spinach

This is an easy pasta side dish that can go with just about anything.  The goat cheese melts when you stir it in the orzo making it creamy with a tangy cheesy flavor.  The spinach offers color, a subtle flavor and all those great vitamins that only a green leafy vegetable can provide.

Enjoy your pasta without the guilt…

Creamy Orzo and Spinach

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes + 5 minutes rest time

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 185                                              Fat = 7 grams

Serves 4


2 cloves garlic – minced

2 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup orzo pasta

3 cups fresh spinach – chopped

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese


  1. Heat large saucepot on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and add garlic.  Cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Add broth, increase to high heat and bring broth up to a boil.  Add orzo and thyme and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Remove orzo from heat, add spinach and goat cheese and stir until combined.  Cover the pot for 5 minutes to allow spinach to steam and then transfer to a serving platter.
Posted in Beef, Grilling

Enjoy the BBQ…

We’ve been gone most of the weekend  so I have not had the opportunity to cook home made dinners.  But I do have some  great ideas for this upcoming holiday weekend. Here is a recipe that I have cooked many times for company.    The best thing is that you can make this in advance and heat it up the morning of your BBQ.

Enjoy the BBQ…

Texas BBQ Pork Loin

Serves 8

Pre heat oven 250o or BBQ grill 250o

Prep time:

Cook Time:

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 300                                              Fat = 8 grams

Pork Loin Rub Ingredients:

1 tablespoon finely ground black pepper

½ tablespoon ground oregano

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon celery salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 pounds boneless pork loin


  1. To make the rib rub, combine all the ingredients. Rub over the surface of the pork loin to coat.
  2. If cooking in the oven, place pork in baking pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Cook pork for about 5 hours or until internal temperature reaches 155o.  When cooked, increase oven temperature to broil to brown the meat.
  3. If cooking on the grill, place pork AWAY from direct heat.  Close the BBQ grill for about 5 hours or until internal temperature reaches 150o.  Move the pork directly on the coals to brown until internal temperature reaches 170o.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup strong coffee

1 cup ketchup

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

½ cup white vinegar

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 jalapeno pepper – minced

3 cloves garlic – minced


  1. Combine all ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium low heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Cool sauce and pour into a food processor and puree for 30 seconds.
  3. Return sauce to saucepan and heat for 5 minutes or until mixture is warmed.
  4. Serve with pork loin.
Posted in Dessert

Memorial Day Weekend dessert idea…

Fruit Tart

This is a delicious fruity and colorful dessert you can bring to a BBQ or make for your own event.  It should be made the day before too which gives you less work the day of the party.

The pretzel crust was an idea I got from a magazine and sounded very interesting.  I like the salty/sweet dynamic.

Fruit Tart

Serves 12

Preheat oven 400o

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Estimated Values per serving (without whipped topping):

Calories = 320                                              Fat = 4 grams

Crust Ingredients:

1 ½ cups crushed pretzels

¼ cup low calorie butter spread – melted

3 tablespoons sugar

Crust Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine pretzels, butter spread and sugar and stir together. 
  2. Press pretzel mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes then cool in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Fruit Topping Ingredients:

12 ounces frozen blueberries – thawed

12 ounces frozen cherries – thawed

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup cornstarch

½ cup water

Fruit Topping Directions:

  1. Strain any extra juice from the blueberries and cherries and place in a large saucepot.  Add sugar, cornstarch and water and stir until combined.
  2. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat and refrigerate to cool.

Filling Ingredients:

½ cup boiling water

1 package unflavored gelatin

4 ounces low fat cream cheese – softened

4 ounces fat free cream cheese – softened

½ cup fat free sour cream

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon rind – grated

1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling Directions:

  1. While crust is cooling, combine boiling water and gelatin in a small bowl and stir for about 5 minutes until gelatin has dissolved.  Cool gelatin mixture to room temperature.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheeses, sour cream, sugar, lemon and vanilla and mix on high speed until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Add gelatin to cream cheese mixture and beat on high speed for about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour filling on pretzel crust and spread to cover the crust completely.
  5. Spoon fruit on top, covering the filling completely.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Serve with whipped topping if desired.