Posted in Beef, Grilling, Lunchalicious, Poultry, Tips/Hints

Hamburger Slider Lunchalicious & Light

Hamburger Slider Lunchalicious

Serves 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 – 14 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 310                        Fat: 8 grams                          Points: 5

NOTE: The remaining burgers are frozen until needed.


½ pound (8 ounces) ground turkey breast meat

½ pound (8 ounces) lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)

1 slider roll

1 slice low fat cheese

1 orange – sliced

Pickles (optional)


  1. Mix together ground turkey and beef.  Form 8 – 2 ounce burgers that are the size of the slider roll.  Freeze 7 of the burgers until ready to use.
  2. Heat a small skillet on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and cook 1 burger for 5 – 7 minutes on each side until cooked to medium temperature.
  3. Place slider roll into container and place burger on top.  Place sliced cheese on top of the other side of the slider roll (to prevent melting the cheese).
  4. In a small mixing bowl, mix together honey and apples.  Spoon into another part of container.
  5. Add pickles to the third part of container if using.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Posted in Poultry, Tips/Hints

Make Ahead Meals – Week 2

Making Southwest Chicken Skillet in advance: Cook chicken in skillet until done then remove from stovetop and place in the refrigerator.  About 15 minutes before it is time to eat, reheat the chicken on the stove for about 10 minutes or until it reaches a boil on medium heat then remove chicken, add cheese, broil and serve.

Southwest Chicken Skillet

Southwest Chicken Skillet

Serves 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 260                        Fat: 6 grams                          Points: 6


4 bone-in skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

5 scallions – white parts only chopped

1 jalapeno pepper – finely chopped

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

½ reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese


  1. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Brown for about 3 – 5 minutes on each side.
  2. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium and add scallions and jalapeno pepper.  Sauté for about 5 minutes until browned.
  3. Add tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder and bring to a boil.  Add chicken breasts to the skillet, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Preheat the broiler on high heat.  Remove chicken breasts from skillet and place in an oven safe pan.  Sprinkle a little cheese on each breast and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. Pour sauce into a serving platter, top with chicken breasts and serve.
Posted in Bake, Casserole, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Sauces, Tips/Hints, Vegetables

Make Ahead – Day 2

Tips for Cooking Ahead:

  1. You can cook the vegetables and pasta, and sauce and combine in the casserole dish to bake later that day or the next day.  If you refrigerate the casserole overnight, take it out for several hours before baking it so that it can come to room temperature.  This will reduce the baking time to 30 minutes.
  2. You can bake the dish just before broiling the parmesan that morning and leave out.  Heat for 10 minutes, covered, then broil for the last 5 minutes right before serving.
  3. You can bake the casserole the night before and refrigerate it overnight.  The next day, take it out several hours before baking it so that it can come to room temperature then bake for 15 minutes, covered, add the parmesan cheese and broil for 5 minutes.
  4. You can cook the entire recipe that morning or the night before then divide into individual serving sizes and microwave.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 6

Preheat oven 450o

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 320                        Fat: 4 grams                          Points: 5


1 eggplant – cut into 1-inch pieces


1 zucchini – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion – cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil cooking spray

12 ounces penne pasta (*)

¼ cup flour

3 cups skim milk

¼ cup egg substitute

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup + ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese – separated

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place towels on the countertop and sprinkle generously with salt.  Add eggplant pieces on top, sprinkle more salt on top then cover again with paper towels.  Let eggplants sit out on countertop to “sweat” for about 20 minutes.
  2. Rinse eggplant well with water and add to a large mixing bowl with zucchini, peppers and onions.  Spray with cooking spray and toss.
  3. Spray a large baking pan with olive oil.  Spread vegetable mixture in a single layer on baking pan and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and soft.  Reduce oven heat to 400o.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil and add penne pasta.  Cook until al dente for about 5 – 6 minutes.  The pasta should still be firm and slightly cooked.
  5. Drain penne and add to a large mixing bowl.  When vegetables are cooked, add to the penne and toss.  Set aside.
  6. In a large saucepot, whisk together flour, milk, egg substitute nutmeg, ½ cup parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Heat stovetop to medium low and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture has come to a boil and is thickened.  Remove from heat.
  7. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray and add the vegetable pasta mixture.  Pour half of the milk mixture in and toss.  Pour the remaining milk mixture on top, cover and bake at 400o for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove cover from the casserole, sprinkle on ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and broil on high for about 5 minutes until the top is bubbly and browned.
  9. Remove from oven and serve hot.

(*): Use high fiber penne

Posted in Bake, Casserole, Main Courses, Sauces, Tips/Hints, Vegetables

Make Ahead Meals – Day 1

 Make ahead meals will be the focus for the next couple of weeks.  With our crazy schedule of camp and football practice, there is just no time to make dinner right before it’s time to eat.  Most of you probably have the same situation, with work and activities, making a meal right before dinner time just isn’t possible.  So the next few weeks are recipes that work really well for reheating or cooking those last few minutes in the oven for the least amount of time and stress. 

 You can still make delicious and light home cooked dinners even with a busy schedule.  Don’t give in to the take out!  Enjoy home cooked delicious and light meals instead.


Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Tips for Cooking in Advance:

  1. You can cook this for 45 minutes in the morning, keep it covered and leave it out on the counter.  For the last 15 minutes of cooking, re heat oven to 375o and bake for the last 15 minutes uncovered.  The dish will be warmed and the cheese should be browned and melted.
  2. You can cook the recipe for the first 45 minutes in the morning or the night before and refrigerate it.  Take it out an hour before, have it come to room temperature then reheat in the oven at 375o and cook for about 30 minutes (15 minutes covered and 15 uncovered).
  3. You can cook the entire recipe in the morning or the night before and refrigerate it, cut into individual sized pieces and microwave it for 2 – 4 minutes.

Serves 12

Preheat oven 375o

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 200                        Fat: 4 grams                          Points: 4

Eggplant Ingredients:

3 small or 2 large eggplants – skinned and sliced ¼” thin


Olive oil cooking spray

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 to 2 ½ cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

2 cups egg substitute


  1. Place sliced eggplant in layers between paper towels adding salt between each layer.  Cover with paper towels and allow eggplant to sit on counter and “sweat” for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove eggplant from paper towels and rinse thoroughly.  Throw away paper towels.
  3. In one bowl, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and in a separate bowl, pour in egg substitute.
  4. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray.
  5. Working in batches, dip each eggplant slice in the egg then press into the bread crumbs on both sides.  Add eggplant to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until the bread crumbs have browned.
  6. Remove cooked eggplant slices (try not to eat and cook or you will run out of eggplant) and set onto a large plate until ready to assemble.
  7. Continue to work in batches until all of the eggplant is cooked.

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

Olive oil cooking spray

1 onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

½ cup red wine

2 cans crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Heat a large sauce pan on medium heat and spray generously with cooking spray.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. 
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Increase the heat to medium high and add wine.  Let wine cook for about 3 minutes, scraping any pieces off the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and oregano and simmer for about 15 minutes. 

Filling Ingredients:

1 container (15 ounces) fat free ricotta cheese

¼ cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 ¼ cup low fat grated mozzarella cheese


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, egg substitute, onion powder, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese.
  2. To Assemble: Spray a 10’X13”X 2 ½” deep baking pan with cooking spray and add a little tomato sauce on the bottom.  Place a layer of eggplant on top and spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the eggplant.  Sprinkle 1/5 of the mozzarella cheese on top of that layer. 
  3. Continue to layer with sauce, eggplant, ricotta and mozzarella, ending with mozzarella cheese on top.
  4. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and browned.
Posted in Main Courses, Pasta dish, Slow Cook, Tips/Hints

Spicy Chicken Sausage with Penne

This is a great easy meal that can be made ahead of time.  I cooked the sauce in the morning and heated it 10 minutes before dinner while the penne was cooking. 

Spicy Chicken Sausage with Penne

Spicy Chicken Sausage with Penne

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 to 2 hours

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 400                        Fat: 7 grams                          Points: 8


1 package (12 ounces) chicken sausage with jalapenos and red peppers – coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

½ cup white wine

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons fresh basil – chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon dried oregano

8 ounces (1/2 box) high fiber penne pasta (*)


  1. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and add sausage.  Sauté for 5 minutes until browned.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add wine, scraping any pieces from the bottom of the pan and cook until it comes to a boil.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and basil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. 20 minutes before serving, add oregano and continue to simmer.
  5. 10 minutes before serving, bring water to a boil on high heat and add penne.  Cook 8 – 10 minutes or until done.
  6. Strain penne and pour into a serving platter.  Spoon sausage sauce on top and serve.

(*) “Smart Pasta” with 7 grams of fiber per serving.

NOTE: the sausage sauce can be made in advance and reheated when ready to serve.

Posted in Main Courses, Poultry, Rub, Slow Cook

Pulled BBQ Chicken

I made this for my son’s birthday party last night and did not get the chance to take a picture because we were so busy getting ready.  I also did not write the exact measurements down when I was preparing hot sauce but remember the ingredients.  You may want to add a little more of this or that as you make the sauce per your own individual taste and heat level.

Happy BBQ’ing!

Pulled BBQ Chicken

Serves 10

Oven or Crock Pot

Preheat oven 300o

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 – 4 hours

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 300                        Fat: 6 grams                          Points: 6


4 pounds chicken breast on the bone

1 pound chicken thighs on the bone

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons chili powder

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 cups ketchup

1 jar (12-ounces) chili sauce

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

2 teaspoons onion powder

3 – 4 dashes hot sauce

½ teaspoon powdered mustard


  1. Remove skins from chicken pieces and arrange in a baking pan.  Combine brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper and chili powder and whisk until combined.  Rub on chicken pieces.
  2. Cover baking pan with aluminum foil and cook for 3 – 4 hours.  Chicken will be ready when you can easily remove the meat from the bone with a fork.
  3. When the chicken is done, remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
  4. While chicken is cooling, heat a sauce pot on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add garlic.
  5. Cook garlic for 1 -2 minutes until slightly browned but not crisp.  Add ketchup, chili sauce, water, brown sugar, liquid smoke, onion powder, hot sauce and mustard.  Cook until heated and bubbly.
  6. Add hot sauce or other spices for taste.
  7. When chicken has cooled, shred meat off the bone by holding the chicken with a fork in one hand and scraping the meat off the chicken with a fork in the other hand.  Add chicken meat to a large serving bowl, stir in hot BBQ sauce and serve.

NOTE: If you cook the pulled chicken in advance you can re-heat in the microwave, or keep it hot in a sterno or place in a slow cooker set on “warm”.

Posted in Tips/Hints

Our Pt. Pleasant visit…

We visited to Pt. Pleasant yesterday, enjoying the rides, attractions and of course, the food.  Having fun at the Jersey Boardwalk doesn’t have to ruin your weight management goals.  Although most of the food can be high in calories and fat, some shore cuisine choices can be good. 

Some alternative low fat food choices include:

–          steamed clams or shrimp (or raw bar selections),

–          salads (just be careful of dressing and cheeses), and

–          grilled chicken breast sandwich,

For those of you who would like something sweet after your meal, there are low fat choices as well and can include:

–          Cotton candy

–          Taffy (a boardwalk tradition),

–          Italian ices,

–          Gummy candies (many varieties),

–          Watermelon slices (my personal favorite), and

–          Fat free ice cream

I am sure there are even more choices that I may not noticed on the menu yesterday.  When in doubt, just look at a calorie counter website and type in a food that you like and check it out.  So don’t avoid all the fun that the Jersey beach has to offer, just make informed decisions.

Enjoy the beach fun!!

Posted in Eating Out, Travel

The Crazy Weekend…

We really are not that busy of a family but this weekend was a blowout.  Friday night we went to a benefit for Sylvia’s Children.   The organization funds and runs a school for orphaned children in Uganda.  Usually I tend to be a little skeptical about these things but I know Sylvia, the originator and head of the organization and know that 100% of the funds go to the school.  The event was excellent; there were pictures of the children at school, displays of musical instruments from Uganda and had beautiful art, jewelry and crafts on display and for sale as well.   

Afterwards we just went to TGIF for a bite to eat and went home.  I ordered Key West Shrimp because I remember that it’s lower in fat and calories (225 calories & 7 grams of fat) and shared the fried string beans appetizer and the brownie sundae for dessert.  I often order a light dinner so I can splurge a little on appetizer and dessert (since they are my favorite courses anyway).  Sharing really helps all of us not eat too much as well.

Saturday night, we left Nick at home, and headed to Brooklyn, NY.  I have never been there but a friend of mine knows it well.  We ate at the “Bread and Butter” restaurant.  It was fantastic.  For the appetizer, I tried the goat cheese wrapped in phyllo with caramelized onions and beets.  The sweet combination of the onions and beets with the saltiness of the cheese was a great compliment of flavors.  For the entrée, I had seared scallops which were seared perfectly.  The scallops were accompanied by a seafood medley and creamed corn.  I then finished my meal with a slice of buttermilk pie.  I have baked this before but never tasted it by someone else; it was delicious.  I have to go back to my recipe now to see if mine is similar.   I can’t say my dining experience was a “light” one last night but every once in a while, on a special occasion (we were celebrating my friend’s announcement on an expected baby), you have to just enjoy, relax and have fun.

So I do not have any recipes yet today.  However, I think you might see buttermilk pie this week… that is if I can make it “delicious and light”. 

So long for now…

Happy Dining!!

Posted in Tips/Hints, Travel

Dinner out tonight

It was my father’s birthday tonight so we went out to celebrate and am sorry to say that I do not have a recipe to share from tonight.  However, if you are looking to eat light when you go to a restaurant, here are some tips that might help:

1. Share the appetizer or salad:  I ordered a first course salad that was large enough to share with my husband and son.  Also, I purposely choose the “plain” house salad that only included vegetables without any cheese or meat, this helps cut down on the calories and fat.

2. I always look for a red sauce.  Tonight I had sauted tilapia in a shrimp, mussles & clams in a red sauce.  I was going to order the lobster in a wine sauce at first; but when I read the bottom that listed the ingredients & preperation I saw that the sauce included butter.  Any butter sauce will add a lot of calories and fat.

3. If the dish comes with fries, ask for a substitute.  Although my dinner did not include fries tonight, this happens very often.  I find that if I ask for no fries, the kitchen is happy to serve me an alternative instead (i.e. baked potato, extra vegetable, etc…)

So the next time you are eating out, try some of these tips and see if they help you keep your dishes “Delicious & Light”.

Happy Eating!!