Archive for February, 2009

A friend alerted me to this story on the Times Online about the world’s best food blogs. I can’t wait to check them out – they all sound amazing! Be sure to read Smitten Kitchen – the photography on that site is incredible.


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A coworker of mine has been making this punch for years, and we always look forward to it at every office party. It literally takes 5 minutes to make, and tastes fantastic!


Party Punch

  • 2 liters of ginger ale
  • 1 liter of club soda (I’ve also used seltzer water, you can’t tell the difference)
  • 1/2 can limeade concentrate
  • 1/2 can lemonade concentrate

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl and enjoy!

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My husband bought me the Hungry Girl cookbook for Christmas this year, and I’ve found so many great recipes inside. When planning his birthday party, I wanted to find some party-type dishes that didn’t go overboard on the calories, so I made Hungry Girl’s banana pudding and pigs in a blanket – both were easy to make and turned out great!

Bananarama Wafer Puddin’

  • 2 cups fat-free milk, at fridge temperature
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 24 Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers
  • 1 small (4 serving) package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Optional: fat-free whipped topping

Combine pudding mix and milk in a bowl. Beat with a whisk for 2 minutes or until thoroughly blended. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or casserole dish (I used a trifle bowl), arrange a layer of wafers and then top with a layer of banana slices. Continue alternating layers until all wafers and banana slices are in the dish.

Top dish with the pudding and let it seep down in between the wafer and banana layers. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. If desired, add whipped topping before serving. Makes 6 servings.

This recipe is only 137 calories per half-cup serving!


HG’s De-Pudged Pigs in a Blanket

  • 8 fat-free or nearly fat-free hot dogs (40-50 calories each)
  • 1 can (8 servings) Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls refrigerated dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut each hot dog into 4 even pieces.

Take 1 of the 8 triangle-shaped portions of the dough and stretch or roll it out slightly, making it into a larger triangle. Then cut this piece of dough into 4 long, narrow triangles. Beginning at the base of each of these triangles, roll 1 hot dog piece up in the triangle until the point of the triangle wraps around the center. Place your blanketed pigs on a large, ungreased baking pan and repeat entire process 7 more times with remaining dough and hot dog pieces. (Be sure to evenly space them, as the dough will expand while baking.)

Place pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes, until dough appears slightly browned and crispy. Enjoy! Makes 8 servings.

I’ve made this for several parties, and the best part is that one serving is 4 pigs in a blanket! Each serving is only 134 calories and 5 grams of fat – much less than the traditional kind.


One last tip for making a party healthier – if you’re making a cake or cupcakes, use applesauce instead of oil. The consistency of the cake will be slightly different, but most people would never know the difference! Use the same amount of applesauce as you would use for oil. For the birthday cake below, I used applesauce, reduced fat cake mix, and reduced fat frosting.


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My cousin Becky is a whiz in the kitchen, and she makes the most incredible cakes! If she lived here in DC I’d recommend her to everyone I know. I unfortunately did not inherit her baking skills, even though I’ve had success with some of her recipes including her easy cake cookies. It’s her recipe for buffalo chicken dip that has been quite the hit for me at more than one party. It takes only a few minutes to make, and it is so delicious!

  • 1 brick cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
  • 1/3 cup Frank’s red hot
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large can chunk white meat chicken, drained

Mix it all up (use a hand mixer if you don’t like chunks of chicken), then spread into a baking dish and heat it for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. It’s great with tortilla chips, but also really good with celery sticks.

Below is a picture of me with the table of goodies for the party I threw for my husband’s 27th birthday in January. I’ll be posting recipes for a few other things on the table soon! (The buffalo chicken dip is on the left.)


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I’m all about the one-dish dinners! The less pots I have to clean, the better 🙂 Good Housekeeping had a great section in their January issue on multiple ways to make dinner in one pot. I tried two of them, and they were absolutely delicious! The recipes are posted below. (Please note on the Lentil Stew – I got stuck at work and the crockpot cooked for three hours longer than I had planned, making the stew a little overcooked. My friend Amy suggested hooking the crockpot up to a light timer, so it shuts off right when you want it to. Great idea! That’s what I’ll be doing next time.)


Indian Cauliflower Curry Stew

  • 1 tbs. EVOO
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tbs. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (I used powdered ginger instead)
  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (2 lbs.), cut into small florets (4 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cans (15-19 oz. each) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, plus additional for serving

In 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add carrots and onion, and cook 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, prepare rice as label directs; keep warm.

Stir ginger, curry, and 3/4 tsp. salt into carrot mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth; cover and heat to boiling on high. Stir in cauliflower and garbanzo beans; cover and cook on medium 15-20 minutes longer, gently stirring every 5 minutes until cauliflower is tender.

To serve, stir chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup yogurt into cauliflower stew. Spoon rice into serving bowls; top with stew. Serve cauliflower stew with additional yogurt to dollop on top if you like. Makes about 8 servings.

Lentil Stew With Butternut Squash

  • 2 large stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large onion (12 oz.), chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash (2 1/2 lbs.), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks (note – this will take a while!)
  • 1 bag (1 lb.) brown lentils (I couldn’t find them at the store, so I used green lentils and you’d never know the difference)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can (14-14.5 oz.) vegetable broth (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 oz. Parmesan or Romano cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

In 4 1/2-t0-6-quart slow cooker bowl, combine celery, onion, squash, lentils, water, broth, rosemary, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Cover slow cooker with lid, and cook as manufacturer directs on low setting 8 hours.

To serve, spoon lentil stew into serving bowls; top with Parmesan shavings, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Makes 8 servings.

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My mom bought me a subscription to the new Food Network Magazine for Christmas, and I absolutely love it! It’s full of hundreds of recipes, including many focused on quick weeknight dinners. Tonight’s meal wasn’t part of that bunch, but it was part of the “Comfort Food Made Light” list that I wanted to try. Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 tbs. EVOO
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey (90% lean)
  • 1 cup panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) – I just used regular bread crumbs instead
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the zucchini, bell peppers, garlic paste and 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are almost soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the egg and fresh herbs in a large bowl. Add the turkey, panko, grated cheese, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar, and the cooled vegetables; mix until just combined.

Gently press the mixture into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, and 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes in a small bowl; brush the mixture over the entire loaf. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 8.

This recipe has only 270 calories and 14 grams of fat per serving – that’s 300 fewer calories and 65% less fat than a serving of restaurant-style meatloaf. It even has 20 grams of protein!

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