Thursday, June 30, 2011

Janice's Grilled Rum Basted Pineapple Kabobs

A terrific dessert kebab suitable for company with only 116 calories. Serve alone or with a scoop of ice cream!

Try it with tequila if you don't have a good dark rum (Mount Gay Dark is perfect).

The nutrition facts can be found at Calorie Count! 

Grilled Rum Basted Pineapple Kabobs

Makes 8 Servings


1 pineapple - Slice off the pineapple's top and bottom with a large very sharp knife, stand the pineapple upright and slice off the lumpy skin (you don't have to get every little bit of brown skin bits, but get most of it - this seems wasteful, but no worries, there will be plenty remaining), cut the remaining cylinder vertically into 8 wedges, remove the bit of core on each long wedge, and then cut each long slice into fourths.
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice 


Preheat grill.

Mix rum, brown sugar, honey, and orange juice together until sugar dissolves.

Thread pineapple slices onto skewers. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning & basting with rum sauce several times. 

Remove from heat, plate on a serving tray, and serve.


If you don't want to make these into kabobs, all you have to do is slice off the peel, slice into rounds approximately 3/4 of an inch thick, remove the small circle of a core with a small knife (or leave it in, some people love the woody core), baste the rounds, and grill.

Or, rather than being so precise in your cutting in order to thread them onto skewers, just cut the thing into approximately 2 inch chunks in whatever manner you choose once the skin is off.

The number of wedges you cut the pineapple into doesn't really matter, what is important is that the pieces are large enough to skewer. I cut one pineapple that was not quite as large as normal and it was best cut into six wedges. If you like your pieces larger, cut into four wedges and allow a minute or two longer to grill.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sharpshootinstar's Asparagus Bacon Salad

Every single thing a calorie counter eats does not have to be low calorie. The important thing is to know what the calories are so they can be counted. You can reduce the calories by about 30 per serving if you substitute turkey bacon. Another idea is to substitute prosciutto. You can use a bit less of this Italian bacon because it's flavor is more intense. On the other hand, when a family gathering or picnic is in the works, you can't go wrong with bacon!

The nutrition facts can be found at Calorie Count!

Asparagus Bacon Salad


1 package thick cut bacon
1 lb of fresh asparagus, washed and cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup vinegar
1/2  cup sliced almonds
4 cups salad greens
1/2 tsp ground mustard, 1/4 tsp pepper


Cook the bacon till crisp in a skillet, remove and drain on paper towel.  Drain all but 3-4 tablespoons of the drippings.

Saute the asparagus in the drippings until tender-crisp.  Add vinegar, spices, and bacon. Stir and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.

In a big bowl, toss the salad greens with the almonds.  Add the asparagus bacon mixture and toss gently.  Serve immediately.


If you will be transporting the salad, make it right before you leave (assuming you will use bacon) in order to maintain appearance.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Janice's Peas and Rice

Why serve just plain rice? This only takes a few minutes more and the results are superb!

The nutrition facts can be found at Calorie Count!

Peas and Rice

Serves four to six (calories based on four servings)


1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup dry white wine*
1/2 cups chicken stock*
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cups fresh peas, removed from shells
Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fresh peas and blanch for about 30 seconds and remove to a bowl.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add the shallot and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute more. Add the brown rice and stir to coat.

Add the wine, and chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook til the rice is done.

Remove from heat, stir in the Romano cheese, peas, salt and pepper. Leave covered a few minutes. Fluff before serving. 


*Make it vegetarian and change the butter to more olive oil and the chicken stock to vegetable stock!

*The amount of liquid to rice will totally depend upon the type of brown rice you use. Please follow package directions but substitute stock and wine for the water.

You can use onion instead of shallot.

For that matter, you can use just water and save those calories! But it's fun this way.

Cooking time depends on your rice.

Janice's Peas and Prosciutto

If you don't have prosciutto, use very lean bacon or turkey bacon in this company ready side dish.

The nutrition facts for this delicious side dish can be found at Calorie Count!

Peas and Prosciutto 

3-4 delicious servings


2 oz prosciutto
1/2 onion, chopped
1 t pure olive oil
12 oz peas, thawed
1/4 t black pepper


Roughly chop prosciutto and saute over medium heat with onion til prosciutto begins to crisp and onion browns a bit. If you are not using a non-stick or well seasoned cast iron pan, add a little more olive oil and add in the extra calories.

Add peas and 1 T water, continue to saute til hot throughout - if it looks dry add a bit more olive oil or water.

season freshly cracked black pepper and serve immediately. I don't use salt, but this is where you would add it, if you like!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meganr's Chickpeas with Tempeh and Zucchini

The nutrition facts for Meganr's delicious vegetarian dish are at Calorie Count!

Chickpeas with Tempeh and Zucchini 

2 T olive oil, divided use
4 oz tempeh
3 T lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
1 C onion, minced
1 ½ C chickpeas, cooked
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 zucchinis, chopped
1 C fresh spinach, chopped


Cut up the tempeh into one inch slices and put into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest. Marinate for at least ½ hour.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 T oil, chickpeas, and onions and stir until the chickpeas are golden and crusty. This will take about 10 minutes. When the chickpeas just start to get crusty, add the garlic and continue to sauté and stir for about a minute. Bits of the garlic will start to stick to the pan – this is a good thing! Make sure to scrape up the crusty bits and keep it in the sauté.

Remove the chickpea mix from the pan to a covered bowl, then heat the remaining oil in the pan and sauté the zucchini for three minutes. Add the chickpea mix back to the pan and stir in the tempeh. Cook until the tempeh is heated through – about two minutes.

Stir in the spinach and cook for one minute.

Put the mix into a serving bowl.


Meganr sometimes adds red chili flakes for a bit of bite and chopped almonds for extra crunch.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Janice's Baked Sugar Snap Peas

Simple and delicious. Check the produce section of your favorite store or farmers market for some fresh sugar snap peas and give this a try today.

The nutrition facts can be four at Calorie Count!

Baked Sugar Snap Peas

Four servings


1/2 pound sugar snap peas, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped shallots (or onion)
1 chopped garlic clove
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried thyme
kosher salt to taste


Preheat your oven to 450 F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and spread the peas evenly in a single layer. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining ingredients.

If you prefer, you can also just toss the ingredients together in a bowl and then spread on the baking sheet. Use the method that fits the way you prefer to cook.

Bake for about 6-8 minutes. They should be tender but still a bit firm - do not over cook.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Janice's Wild Rice with Raisins

The nutrition facts for this side dish can be found at Calorie Count!

Wild Rice with Raisins in Acorn Squash
Wild Rice with Raisins


1 C wild rice
2 C water (or the amount per your brand of rice's directions)
2 t garlic powder
2 t rosemary
2 T raisins
1 T extra virgin olive oil


In a medium sized pot with a lid, combine rice, water, garlic powder, and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and follow rice directions for how long to simmer.

During the last five minutes of the simmer, add the raisins.

When water is absorbed, remove from heat, add the olive oil, stir, and recover. Allow to sit for a few minutes.


Try cooking the rice in low sodium vegetable stock, it adds only a few calories per serving.

Delicious on its own but even better if served as shown in the picture as a filling for baked acorn squash - I like to melt a little butter and brown sugar in the squash before adding the rice mixture.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Janice's Roast Beef with Brie Sandwich

The nutrition facts for this delicious sandwich are at Calorie Count!

Roast Beef with Brie Sandwich

makes two sandwiches


2 whole wheat sub rolls
1/3 lb rare roast beef, sliced thin
2 T soft brie cheese
2 t horseradish mustard
2 whole red lettuce leaves
2 thin slices of onion


Assemble. That's the brilliant thing about sandwiches, everyone can make their own and knows just what to do.

Sharpshootinstar's Grilled Hawaiian Steak

This is a traditional party food with Sharpshootingstar’s family. Everyone loves it and it is the first thing to go.

The nutrition facts for this recipe are at Calorie Count!
Grilled Hawaiian Steak


6 pounds top round
1 c olive oil
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup pineapple juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small minced onion
1 t ginger


Have the butcher slice the steak very thin – somewhere between a fajita steak and paper is ideal.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, soy sauce, juice, garlic, onion, and ginger.

Add the sliced steak, making sure each slice is evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

When ready to cook, remove the steak from the marinade and grill on a hot grill for just a couple minutes per side or until it is done as you like.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Janice's Lemon Veggie Pasta Salad

The nutrition facts for this refreshingly different pasta salad can be found at Calorie Count!

Lemon Veggie Pasta Salad


12 ounces penne pasta, cooked til al dente
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/8 t salt
1/8 t fresh cracked black pepper
2 Zucchini, diced
½ pepper, sweet red, chopped
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
⅓ C parsley, minced
6 ounces, Feta cheese, crumbled


Boil the pasta per package directions, drain and rinse in a colander with cool water to stop the cooking, then place in a serving bowl.

Mix with the olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon, then add salt and pepper to taste. Poor over pasta and mix well. I’m not much of a salter, but you may be, so taste when it’s done and increase the quantity as you like. 

Add zucchini, sweet red pepper, onion, tomatoes, parsley, and feta, and mix well. 

Taste and decide if you need more salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, or feta.

Chill for a couple hours covered in a fridge.

Suly's Fruity Salad and Dressing

The nutrition facts for this delicious take along salad can be found at Calorie Count!

Fruity Salad and Dressing

serves four

Salad Ingredients:

4 cups spinach or romaine lettuce
1 orange peeled and sectioned
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup pecans (or almond slivers, or walnuts, sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup water chestnuts
2 large tomatoes cut into chunks


tear lettuce and place in bowl with all the other ingredients. Toss with the dressing below.


Blend a little fruit spread, such as Polaner's All Fruit or Smucker's Simply Fruit with a little fruit infused vinegar (I like Pomgranate vinegar) and either oil or applesauce and a little water. Blend thoroughly. Add a little salt and pepper. You can make it as low in calories as you like by adjusting ingredients. Experiment and taste as you go until it makes your taste buds sing!


Yse any berry you like - either dried or fresh. Not a fan of pecans? Try almond slivers, or walnuts, or sunflower seeds. Salads are awesome because they are so easily personalized!

Janice's Texas White Chili

At only  248 calories in each generous serving, this recipe is also quick enough for weekday after work cooking. The nutrition facts for this recipe can be found at Calorie Count!

Texas White Chili

Serves 6


1 tablespoon pure olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped
1-2 chopped hatch chilis your choice of hot or mild - if you use canned, add them with the garlic.
1 pound ground turkey, lean
1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (omit if you are a spice wimp and increase if you love it hot)
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups low salt vegetable stock (or more)
2-3 cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained (I use three cans and sometimes I add in a can of pinto beans for white and tan chili...or a can of black beans and call it Black and White Chili!)
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley (or both), rinsed and chopped


Heat oil over medium high heat in large saucepan and add onion, red pepper, mand fresh hatch peppers. Stir until the onion is barely softened - about three minutes.

Add turkey and cook until it is no longer pink. If you bought less than lean turkey, you may need to drain some of the liquid. But don't fuss draining it all.

Add the garlic, cumin and both chili powders. Cook, stirring til incorporated.

Stir in the flour and then the tomato paste.

Add beans, and enough stock to get the consistency you prefer. Chili should be thick. Stir in the cilantro. Simmer 10 minutes or so, taste, and adjust the seasonings. Serve with cornbread!


Like it hotter? Round the chili powders and cumin when measuring. Or use hot hatch chilis.

Like it mild? Reduce the chili powders by half, you can always add more when you are adjusting the seasonings. Or instead of using ancho and chipotle powders just use a good chili powder like Gebhardts and then add whatever you love to make it spicy.

Other seasonings you may like: basil, smokey paprika, black pepper, and white pepper

Used to salt? Wait til it's cooked and decide how much to add, better still - get used to food without the salt! After a while you will not miss it.

Love beans? Add more! You can double the beans and omit the meat completely.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Claire's Four Bean Salad

The nutrition facts for this wonderful salad can be found at Calorie Count!

Claire’s Four Bean Salad

12 servings


2 C green beans, cut
2 C yellow beans, cut
1 ½ C red kidney beans, cooked
1 C baby lima beans, from frozen
½ C celery, diced
½ C red onion, diced
½ C red bell peppers, diced
½ C carrot, grated
4 T olive oil
6 T vinegar
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t honey
¼ C fresh parsley, minced


Make the dressing in a large salad bowl by combining the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Beat with a whisk or fork until well mixed.

Steam the green and yellow beans until cooked to your tastes. Drain and rinse the canned kidney beans. Cook and drain the lima beans.

Combine all ingredients in the bowl and toss with the dressing. Refrigerate until time to serve.


Excellent for family picnics!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Janice's Caprese On A Stick

The nutrition facts for this salad on a stick can be found at Calorie Count!

Caprese On A Stick

not on a stick

16 cherry tomatoes
16 fresh mozzarella balls
16 fresh basil leaves
3 T olive oil
Cracked black pepper
Tooth picks or bamboo skewers


Alternate tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves on toothpicks for appetizers, or on bamboo skewers for a side dish.

Lay on a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil, cover with fresh cracked pepper and/or a turn of the salt grinder.


A real Italian Caprese does not use vinegar, but you may like to. If you do, drizzle a about 1 T of your favorite vinegar.

If you prefer, cut large chunks of regular tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a more rustic appearance.

Do not refrigerate tomatoes as this changes their flavor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marg's Curried Lentil Soup

Have some lentils today! They are just awesome for you.

The nutrition facts for this delicious soup can be found at Calorie Count!

Marg’s Curried Lentil Soup Recipe

3 generous servings


1/2 cup dry lentils
1 carrot, grated
3 cups cauliflower
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. black mustard seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. asafetida (a spice found at Indian markets)
1 dried chile pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
5 cups water


Grate the carrot, chop the cauliflower, onion, and pepper. Mince the garlic.

Put everything but the garam masala and salt into a pot and simmer until everything is tender (about 20 minutes).

Remove the hot chile pepper and puree everything with an immersion blender.

Stir in garam masala and salt to taste and serve.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vegetarian Times Spaghetti with Garlic, Tomatoes, and Sage

The directions and nutrition facts for this fantastic recipe are at this link at The Vegetarian Times.

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Golden Garlic, Tomatoes, and Sage

Serves 6  

Sage and tomatoes pair beautifully in this light pasta sauce. Firm Roma tomatoes are your best bet here for a sauce that's not too watery. If early-season tomatoes make the sauce taste too acidic, stir 1 tsp. sugar or honey in with the sage and olives.

1/2 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti
3 Tbs. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, halved,
   and sliced (3 Tbs.)
1 1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, coarsely
   chopped (6 cups)
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
2 Tbs. fresh chopped sage, plus more
   leaves for garnish
2 Tbs. chopped kalamata olives

Visit their website today!

Thanks to The Vegetarian Times for permission to include this recipe at The CC Palate!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Cook Beans

If you have the time, inexpensive dried beans are the best, as some nutrition is lost in the canning process.

Canned beans are still very good for you though, so don't feel badly about using them. I frequently use canned beans, rinsing them to remove the salt and anything else that was added during processing. Just place them in a colander and run cool water over them until the water running out is clear. If you can, get organic canned beans to reduce the stuff you have to wash off.

The current concern about canned beans is that the linings used in the cans contain BPA (just like the plastic water bottles) and that the amount is particularly high in canned beans (it's also in canned tomatoes and other things as well). Everything I have read so far indicates that you can remove or reduce this through thorough rinsing.

BPA free Cans:

Eden Foods are the only canned beans that I know is BPA free.

Soon to be BPA free:

Muir Glenn and Amy's are making changes to remove BPA per several web sites, but are not yet BPA free.

Not BPA free:

all others

I'll edit this list when I learn of brands that no longer use BPA in the lining of cans.

Dried Beans

One of the best things I ever found out about beans is that you can cook them using any method you prefer, drain them, and freeze them! The first time I did this I also discovered that you don't want to over cook them as they will get a little mushy on the re-cook. So cook them to about 80% or so done, just close enough that a 1/2 hour or so in a pot will finish them.

Clean your beans!

Beans are harvested and processed by machine and are prone to containing small stones, so protect your teeth by sorting them thoroughly before rinsing. After the initial sort and rinse, I like to put them in a pot with water and remove those bits that float.  There are several ways to prepare the rinsed dried beans.

Traditional Long Soak

For the traditional long soak method, cover beans with 2” of water, cover with a lid, and let the beans soak for 6-8 hours. Drain, rinse, and put the beans back in the pot with fresh water to simmer until they are done - about an hour or so, just check then and see if they are as done as you want them to be. Beans break and split if they are simmered too hard so keep the heat low. Try making the beans to this point ahead of time on any day when you have time, cool in a colander, and freeze in containers or freezer zip-lock bags for quick weekday use.

Quick Soak

I never remember to get the beans out to soak the day before so I rarely use the traditional method, and instead use the quick soak method – cover the beans with 2” of water, bring to boil for two minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit an hour or until you remember that they were still sitting on the stove. Then drain, rinse, and set to simmer as above. You can add fat or any seasoning, except salt, at the start of the simmer if you are heading right on in to cooking your soup or stew or whatever you are making.

Slow Cooker

Pre-soak beans using preferred method, then drain and rinse. Place a bag of beans with 8 cups of water in crock pot. Set heat on high and allow to simmer with the top tilted to vent. Simmer 8 hours, until beans are tender enough to mash. Stirring isn't necessary, but feel free if it makes you feel progressive. Drain and proceed as you wish.

Pressure Cook those Beans!

Decide how many beans you want to cook, sort, and rinse. Put the beans in the pressure cooker and cover with 2 to 3 inches of water. (Do NOT add salt at this point, as this will make the beans tough.) Put a loose fitting lid on the cooker, and bring the beans to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for one hour. Check to make sure there is enough water to cover the beans before putting on the pressure cooker lid. Bring the pressure cooker to temperature, following directions from the manufacturer. Once pressure is reached, turn down the temperature and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow pressure to drop by itself. Remove the lid, and add a small amount of salt, if desired.

Bake the Beans

After the quick or regular soaking method, place the beans in a pot with an oven safe lid. Add enough water to just cover the beans. Put the lid on the pot and bake in a 350 F oven for about an hour and a half to two hours. Check every now and then to see if you need to add more water to keep moist but not overly wet. When the beans are cooked, you may cool and freeze them or continue and add whatever seasonings you prefer.

Use the Rice Cooker!

This fantastic suggestion comes from the comment section of this note!

Another method is to rinse the beans then put them in a rice cooker with a generous amount of cold water. They take a couple of hours if they are not presoaked. I like pinto beans. I add rice and seasonings (cumin, chili powder, a little salt) the last 20 minutes. You can also add chopped onions, carrots, garlic and so on. It's faster than a slow cooker, and they don't get mushy because when the water is absorbed, the cooker shuts itself off.

To Salt or Not to Salt

Culinary weapons are drawn and tempers flare over whether it is appropriate to add salt or even acidic ingredients like tomatoes before the beans are cooked. Many chefs firmly state that the beans will not become tender if you add these things at the beginning.  Impressed as I am by such confident and aggressive chefs - hey, they do wield rather sharp knives - I wait until the beans are cooked before adding salt or tomatoes - but you do what you prefer. I promise not to argue if you salt first.

Pass on the Gas

The baking soda in the water thing is a myth. Do not bother.

Cure #1 - Instead discard the soaking water rather than using to cook. Apparently because they are uncooked, they don't lose enough nutrition to make a difference. If an overnight soak still has you, uhm, gassy, then proceed to Cure #2.

Cure #2 - Most importantly: Instead of just soaking overnight, soak for 24 hours. Do not use the soak water and flatulence be gone!

For some great bean recipes - see the beans/legumes section to the right under Categories.

Enjoy your beans!

Buggy's Pulled Pork Sandwich

This fantastic sandwich looks like it is loaded with calories, but it's not. Even if you use a full quarter pound of meat, coleslaw, barbecue sauce, and bun you will only consume 381 calories! It even gets a B+ nutrition rating.

The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count - the BEST place on the web to count your calories!

Pulled Pork Sandwich


1 pork tenderloin, 2 pounds
16 oz ginger beer*
8 oz barbecue sauce**
1 1/2 cups coleslaw
8 rolls or hamburger buns
edible flowers for garnish


In a large pot with a lid, slow simmer the tenderloin in the ginger beer until the meat is fork tender and can be pulled apart easily. Add more ginger beer if needed, but you do not want the meat to have too much liquid at the end of cooking.

After pulling apart the meat, mix in the barbecue sauce. Top rolls with the meat, top with coleslaw, decorate with a garnish of edible flowers, and enjoy!


*Typically ginger beer has more bite from ginger than ginger ale. It is a deeper, richer full-bodied flavor. Buggy uses ginger beer from a company called The Ginger People.

**If possible, take the time to make a homemade barbecue sauce instead of using a bottled version. There are a lot of great recipes out there. Here's a great sauce from The CC Palate!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Janice's Split Pea Soup

Soup is a wonderful friend for people trying to lose weight. As long as it is not heavy cream based, it is usually healthy and low calorie making it an anytime food. Make up a big pot and have a bowl of soup as as snack instead of crackers and cheese.

nutrition facts for 10 servings.

Split Pea Soup

1 pound  dried green split peas
7 c  water
2 c  ham, cooked cubed
1 t  olive oil
2 c  carrots, chopped
1 c  celery, chopped with leaves
1 c  onion, chopped
1 c  potato, diced
2 t basil 
1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
1 t  garlic powder
1/2 t  black pepper
1/4 c  parsley, chopped


Sort and rinse the peas a few times in a colander. In a Dutch oven, bring the peas,  ham, and water, to a boil. Cover to simmer. Stir occasionally for about a half hour.

Saute the the chopped veggies (except for the potatoes) in the olive oil a bit and then add spices (but not the parsley or Tabasco) and saute a minute more - if you want you can add salt.

I never add salt unless it is a required element of the dish. If I want a bit of a salty taste I am more likely to add a few shakes of Tabasco sauce...ok, I add a bunch of shakes, but you could try a few and then add more if you like the flavor do so at the end. Remember, the ham is salty so try not adding salt.

Add the veggies (including the potatoes and Tabasco) to the peas. Continue to simmer for approximately 1/2 - 1 hour or til veges are done cooking (cooking more is fine but the peas will rather melt, some of you will prefer that!). Stir occasionally. 

Stir in the parsley and adjust the seasonings to your tastes. Remember that every recipe is just a starting point and you make the changes to suit you.


If you like a more creamy soup, cook it til the peas dissolve more, or add some condensed milk. If you like chunks, stop the cooking when the soup has the texture you love.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Banderabarb's Grilled Avocado

The nutrition facts for this wonderful addition to your grilled meal can be found at Calorie Count!

Grilled Avocado


1 large avocado - not too soft
1 t lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 t oil (use your favorite)
1/2 cup salsa
1/8 cup cheese (use your favorite kind)


Peel avocado and cut in half (you may find it easier to cut in half and remove the seed before peeling, so use the method that works best for you).

Remove seed with a small spoon.

Rub all surfaces with lemon juice and then cooking oil.

Put on the grill cut side down. close the lid. Grill for only 2 or 3 minutes - how long depends on the ripeness of your avocado.

Turn avacado over. Fill seed cavity with your favorite salsa, top with grated cheese.

Close grill and heat until cheese melts.


You may want to use one of those great veggie grill racks to contain your avocado and make it easier to flip!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bonnie's Breakfast Dover Sole

The nutrition facts for this high protein breakfast is at Calorie Count!

Breakfast Dover Sole


1 4 oz Dover Sole Fillet
1 egg white
1/4 cup Corn Flakes, crushed
1/4 t Herbes de Provence


Spray Pam on a small skillet and heat over medium.

Mix the crushed Corn Flakes (blend them fine in a blender or use a mortar and pestle) with the Herbes de Provence in a small bowl.

In another bowl, beat the egg white.

Dip the filet in the egg white and then in the corn flakes to coat both sides well.

When the pan is hot fry the filet for two minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Janice's Roasted Pork Tenderloin

This meal is a cinch to put together after you get home from work. Let it roast in the oven while you stick our feet up, have a cup of herbal tisane, and relax a while.

The nutrition facts for this fantastic meal can be found at the best FREE website to count your calories - Calorie Count

with tri-color fingerling potatoes and carrots
Roasted Pork Tenderloin


3 cloves garlic, minced*
1 tablespoon dried rosemary*
pepper to taste**
 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
 1/4 cup olive oil (preferably habanero olive oil and you can use less if you like)
3 C carrots, chopped into large chunks
1 onion, rough chopped
 3/4 cup white wine
1 T olive oil

Optional additions: potatoes cut into chunks about the same size as the carrots and mushrooms!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees***.

Crush garlic with rosemary, salt and pepper, making a paste. Pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and press the garlic paste into the openings. Rub the meat with olive oil and the remaining garlic mixture.

Spray baking pan with Pam and add the tenderloin.

Surround with chunks of onion and carrots. (alternative is to make a bed of the veggies and top with the tenderloin, that works too!) Sprinkle a little seasoning on the veggies. Drizzle veggies with the habanero olive oil. Add 1/2 C white wine or more - enough to make sure that there are no dry areas in your pan. If you don't want to use white wine you can use chicken stock.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours minimum (depends on how much your roast actually weighs, if it's 2 pounds or less, 1 1/2 hours should do it) - check with meat thermometer to make sure it is at least 160 degrees - the meat should be fork tender. Then remove from the oven, keep it tented, and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.


Consider adding some corn starch and chicken broth to the sauce after you scoop out the onions and carrots in order to make a gravy - or, better still increase the wine to 1 cup when you roast the loin and then thicken the juices with a bit of Tony Chacheres Instant Roux! Just put your pan on a burner set to medium, shake and stir til it's right. Most excellent. To make even better gravy, make sure you use habanero oil to rub the pork loin.

* If you don't want to chop up garlic, try this terrific dried spice that is a combination of rosemary and garlic - Spice Island's Rosemary Garlic Blend - it comes in a "grinder" which I don't like as I had a hard time getting anything to come out. I just remove the lid and pour the stuff out into my hand, rub to "grind" and proceed. The proportion of rosemary to garlic is just perfect. Give it a try.  All you have to do is use 2 tablespoons and stuff some in the slits and rub the rest all over the roast! That spice is a great addition to wild rice, too.

** I don't use salt, you may want to do so, but it won't be in the nutrition facts.

*** ok, there are options here. If you don't have the time to cook 1 and 1/2 hours because you came home from work too dratted late but had a taste for this, you can cook it at 425  for an hour and you will have the tastiest juciest roastiest pork ever and the carrots will be nicely very well cooked. The meat may not be quite forkable, but it will be most tender. For that matter, tenderloins are flexible things indeed, if you think you might not have enough time, roast it at 425 for a half an hour first and then finish it at 350. I've done it all three ways. The first (for a small roast) and the latter get you fork tender pull apart pork. The middle way is slicing pork.

Now let's talk about "well cooked" carrots - if you are one of those that likes your veggies "crisp tender" you won't like the way these carrots turn out because they will be actually done and not just barely not raw as is consider "crisp tender" by so many. But if you are like me and want your veggies well cooked, you will be well pleased.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hollie's Chicken for Tacos or Chalupas

Tex-Mex food is an excellent way to add flavor and fun to your meals. Making it yourself is easy and you are in control of the amount of fat. Have a taco tonight!

The nutrition facts for this recipe are at Calorie Count!

Authentic Tacos
Chicken for Tacos or Chalupas

Four large servings


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T cumin
1 T turmeric
1/2 T paprika
1/2 T chili powder
1 t pepper
1 t salt


On a hard flat service, pound chicken breasts with a tenderizing mallet, until a little more than half it's original thickness.

In a large freezer bag, place tenderized breasts, olive oil, and all spices. Seal bag, and shake/massage until breasts are well coated and spices look well dispersed.

Put in fridge and allow to marinate for a couple hours before cooking.

Coat a grill pan or skillet with non-stick spray or oil.

Place breasts in pan and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes until meat is firm under applied pressure.

Remove from pan and immediately begin dividing the meat. For a more consistent texture, use two forks to pull meat into shreds. You can also dice meat into small cubes.

Serve with shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo. For tacos, have fresh flour tortillas on hand. For chalupas, either buy or make crunchy chalupa shells. Also fantastic on a salad!


If you prefer, you may reduce the salt or omit it - but if you omit salt, do increase the amount of the other seasonings.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Musicmissionary's Grape Juice Dressing & Nutty Salad

The nutrition facts for this lovely fruity vinaigrette can be found at Calorie Count!

Grape Juice Dressing


1 cup red grape juice
1/3 cup olive oil
½  tsp. Ground ginger
1 TBS Cinnamon sugar
½  tsp Nutmeg


Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Adjust seasonings to suit.

Serve with Nutty Salad!

Nutty Salad


1 bag Spring Greens mix (minimal calories!)
2 handfuls Sliced or slivered almonds (24 whole almonds have 163 calories)
2 handfuls Craisins (1/3 cup has 130 calories)


Toss ingredients together, cover with some of the dressing and re-toss so that each ingredient is well coated with dressing.

Janice's Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count!

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Serves 2 on large salads (40 calories)
Serves 3 on medium salads (30 calories)


2 T 0% fat Greek Yogurt
1 T light mayonnaise
1 T low fat buttermilk
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t Dijon mustard
1/8 t onion powder
1/8 t garlic powder
1/8 t dried parsley flakes
1/4 t minced shallot
salt and pepper to taste


Measure and mix all ingredients together in a bowl shortly before serving - either on a salad or as a veggie dip. Taste and increase individual seasonings to your taste, this is a very fragrant, but mild starter dressing.


Increase the proportions by doubling to match the number of guests.

Easily thinned with more buttermilk or use less buttermilk for a thicker consistency and dip veggie into it. 

Consider adding a little celery seed or chives or other fresh herb minced fine.

If you make it ahead of time and it gets too thick sitting in the fridge, just add a little buttermilk (1/2 teaspoon at a time) til it's just right.

For some of you, the shallot will be too intense of a flavor, so you may want to use a little less and taste to see if you like it.

Can be stored in a little sealed container for a few days, but dressing is best made fresh so don't make too big a batch.

Janice's Basic Vinaigrette

I don't use much bottled dressing because this is so easy - once I read the ingredient labels I found it very hard to use the bottled stuff on my salads. Warning: Only read those labels if you plan to start making your own dressing. Once nice thing is, I don't have to worry about storage as it makes just enough for the two of us. So I never have to play the "just how old IS this bottle" game. So easy to increase portions if you do want to make a few days worth or have a large family. Also easy to adjust in a million ways, so read the Notes section below!

The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count!

Basic Vinaigrette

Serves: 2


1 garlic clove, minced - or equivalent dried garlic
1 t lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a small bowl such as a custard cup, mix well with a fork and put on the salads right before dinner.


My favorite California olive oil comes from Sciabica! You can get a lot of good info on olive oil at their website to help you select the perfect oil for your salad.

For variety, use only lemon juice, only vinegar, swap the proportions of vinegar and oil, add a bit of Dijon mustard (my fave), or a bit of dried ground mustard. Also good is a bit of onion powder or shallot minced fine. Use this as a starter and then adjust it totally to your taste for each day.

Make sure you use freshly squeezed lemon juice and that your vinegar, if balsamic, is from Modena. You can easily change the vinegar to any type you prefer - wine, garlic infused, etc.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Susan D.'s Baked or Grilled Vidalias

Vidalias are in the store, but they won't last long. Try Susan's favorite ways to fix this healthy treat.

The nutrition facts are on Calorie Count!

Vidalia Onions
Baked or Grilled Vidalias

Serves: 1


1 Vidalia Onion
1 bouillon cube or 1 t bouillon powder
1 pat of butter


Peal the onion, and cut an X across the top, not quite cutting all the way through, just to open the center a bit. Place a bouillion cube and a dab of butter (or butter substitute) in the center. Wrap tightly in foil. 

Cook either on the grill or in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until tender. 


Yum! Eat them often and fast before the supply is gone!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Claire's Carrot Raisin Salad

Only 49 delicious calories per serving! Make it even simpler to prepare by using a bag of pre-shredded carrots. Wonderful addition to any meal, but particularly good with a sandwich.

The nutrition facts can be found at Calorie Count - the best FREE website to count your calories!

Claire’s Carrot Raisin Salad

4 servings


2 cups carrots, shredded
1 oz raisins
1 T lemon juice
1 t sugar


Coarsely grate the carrots to yield 2 cups. Combine with raisins, lemon juice and sugar. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Try substituting raisins with your favorite dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, or dates.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Janice's Roast Chicken with Tarragon and Veggies

This has been a family favorite since the kids were little.  It always amazed me that they would eat something with such an exotic spice as tarragon, but they just loved it. This time I decided to roast it on a bed of vegetables which browned to caramelized perfection. Use any veggie you might prefer.

The nutrition facts can be found at Calorie Count!

Roast Chicken with Tarragon and Roots Veggies

I forgot to take a pic before eating, but boy was it good!
Serves 6 (calories 409 ea complete meal serving)


1 whole roasting chicken approximately 4-5 pounds but don't fret the size, just get a good bird, preferably one humanely raised with natural food and without hormones and all that stuff that processors inject into the meat of chicken - things that we do not need to eat.

1/2 t salt
1/2 t dried tarragon
1/4 t white pepper
1 onion - with skin on
1 peeled carrot cut into thirds
1 whole stalk celery with leaves cut into thirds
1 sweet red pepper, cut into chunks
2 baking potatoes, peel cut into large chunks
4 peeled carrots, cut into large chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/4 C canola oil - I use canola oil for this dish because it is a more "neutral" in flavor which lets the "chicken" flavor come through more clearly than any other oil.
fresh cracked black pepper


Remove the thawed chicken from the fridge an hour to hour and a half before cooking to bring to room temperature. A room temp bird cooks faster than one that is still cold!

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

Remove the "goodies" from the bird and discard or freeze the neck to make stock one day. Wipe the bird inside and out with paper towel. You really should not rinse the bird, but if you must as so many of us were trained to do, do so quickly. Rinsing causes the chicken to lose flavor, so do reconsider rinsing.

Remove the fat pieces from the cavity entrance and reserve. Sprinkle the cavity with seasonings and rub thoroughly. Lightly fill cavity with the the exterior few sections of the onion including the skin (flavors the meat), the carrot cut into thirds, and celery. Rub the birdie with a T of canola oil and sprinkle a bit more tarragon and white pepper on the outside of the bird.

Peel and cut the remaining veges and the rough chop rest of the onion sections. Place in a bowl with the 1/4 cup of canola oil, sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper, and toss. Spread the veggies in a large roaster pan - either non-stick or one lined with foil. Make an area in the center to serve as a "nest" for the bird and place the bird breast side up in the nest. If you are a chicken trusser you can do so now, I'm not and my chickens always turn out awesome!

Lay the reserved pieces of fat on top of the bird. If calories are not a concern, put a pat of butter underneath the fat and a couple under the skin which adds wonderful flavor and helps crisp the skin. Look up the calories for the butter at Calorie Count!

Roast for 25 minutes at 475. Lower the temperature to 400 and continue roasting for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your bird. Test the bird at the meatiest part with an instant read meat thermometer - it should read 160. If it does not continue roasting until it does and check the temp frequently. The juices will run clear when it is done.

Then remove the beautiful thing from the oven and allow to rest tented in foil for 15-20 minutes on a carving surface. Cover the veggies with foil to keep them warm. This is the time to bake the biscuits! When the chicken is being carved, scoop the veggies out of the pan into a serving bowl. Finally and enjoy!...Wait! Don't forget the biscuits in the oven!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hollie's Fantastic Frijoles

Much lower in calorie and fat then you will find in a restaurant - tastier too. Top these frijoles with a heaping tablespoon of Hollie's Pico de gallo (see May 27, 2011).

The nutrition facts can be found at the best FREE place on the web to count your calories - Calorie Count!

Pinto Beans

Serves 8


1 lb dried pinto beans
8 cups water
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1 serrano pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
2 strips meaty bacon
2 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin


Pre-soak beans using preferred method, then drain and rinse.

Place beans, water, onion, serrano, bacon, and 1 tsp salt in crock pot. Set heat on high and allow to simmer with the top tilted to vent. Simmer 8 hours, until beans are tender enough to mash. Stirring isn't necessary, but feel free if it makes you feel progressive.

Scoop out about 2 cups of water from the crock pot and set aside.

Using a colander, drain remaining water from pot, and return the bean mixture back to the empty crock pot.
Add remaining salt, pepper, and cumin.

Now, when it comes to mashing, preferences vary. Some people like their frijoles very smooth with no lumps. I prefer lumpy with lots of whole beans interspersed in the mash. That being said, if you like smooth beans, use an emulsifier or hand held blender while slowly incorporating the reserved water, until your desired consistency is reached. If you are like me and prefer lumpy beans, using a potato masher, mash to the desired consistency while incorporating the reserved water.
Frijoles are delicious as a side or served as a bean burrito!


Add the water slowly. I only use about a cup of the reserve water personally, but everyone has their own tastes and you may prefer the additional liquid mixed in.

Also, a general rule, beans will dry out a little once they are refrigerated. So, if you are reheating these after the original meal, stir in a splash of low-fat milk to fluff 'em back up.

Freezes/thaws easily, so you can eat half now, and save the rest for the next Mexican food night!

May be cooked on low in a covered pot on the stove if stirred every now and then. More water may be necessary.

8 side dish-sized servings
8 1/2 hour prep/cook combined