Tag Archives: healthy

Turkey Bacon Sliders

13 Feb

So originally, this post was supposed to make it in time for the Superbowl. But I had a crazy busy week at work this past week. Its been great that my job is going well enough that I’m working every day, but it also leaves me less time to blog! So onto what you are here for, a recipe!

Sliders are one of my favorite things to order with a crowd at bars/restaurants. They offer a mini bite without committing to a giant burger sure to create a mess. So I thought, how hard can these be to make at home? For this recipe, I used ground turkey and turkey bacon (a Dish Dash Dime staple) to make them a little healthier than the ground beef restaurant alternative. And did I mention how EASY this dish is? I bet you could use what you already have in your pantry and put your own spin on it too!

First, for two people, and eight sliders, shape ground turkey into two patties.

And since all meat needs seasoning, add a dash of pepper, salt, and garlic salt, to your personal preference.

Be sure to season both sides evenly. And then, sear them on a hot frying pan. I also love a fresh burger off the grill, so take it outside if you like too!

While waiting for your pan to heat up, or while your significant other is grilling, throw some bacon on the stove for some added flavor, texture, and crunch on the sliders.

Turkey bacon comes fully cooked, so it just needs to be heated up. I still prefer using the stove top, although I guess you could try the microwave too. If you’ve never had turkey bacon before, know that it despite the obvious flavor difference, the texture and the overall crispiness is much different. Even if you were to char your turkey bacon, it will still have some flexibility to it. Its more chewy than regular bacon, but it also has good flavor, and over 50% less fat (look at nutritional labels to see the exact difference as it varies by brand). I’ve been using the Jenne-O turkey bacon as a substitute for so long, I don’t even see a difference! But if you have picky eaters, better save the healthy bacon for your own personal BLT.

Next, let’s get our rolls ready. When making sliders, nothing beats a sweet Hawaiian roll. I bought the sub rolls as opposed to the actual Hawaiian rolls since they were much less expensive. Not sure why, but I happily grabbed this deal.

If you haven’t yet, place your patties into a frying pan. If you are using extra lean turkey meat, spray a tiny bit of oil into the pan first.

In my fridge, I only had shredded cheddar. And since I’m a big fan of using what you have instead of making a trip to the store, shredded cheddar is what I used. For a yummy treat, slice up 8 pieces of Tillamook extra sharp cheese.

Then slice each patty into fourths. Try to make each cut as even as possible so you end up with eight similar mini patties. Then place them on the bottom parts of each bun.

And then add bacon!

Then add the top bun and assemble on a plate. For an appetizer, serve them with toppings on the side so guests can add their favorites. Slice up Roma tomatoes for the perfect size. To keep the burgers together, secure each of them with a toothpick.

 

For a meal, serve these with Seasoned Potato Wedges for a meal that any family will devour.

For recipe lovers:

For eight sliders:

1 package Kings Hawaiian Rolls or Mini Sub Rolls
1/2 lb extra lean ground turkey
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt
6 slices turkey bacon
1/4 cup shredded cheese OR 8 small slices of cheddar cheese
Tomato, Lettuce, Onion, Pickles, optional

Superbowl Extravagaza: Simply Potato Skins

4 Feb

So I wanted to make potato skins as one of my appetizers. I had them at a restaurant about two weeks ago and thought, “how simple is this recipe?” I decided to re-create potato skins for the Superbowl in the most effortless way possible. There are ways to make this recipe more gourmet, and take longer, but I honestly was going for quick and simple in this easy appetizer. Did I mention that this version has fewer calories than your restaurant favorite, too?

You’ll yield two potato skins for each potato. For two of us, I made 8 skins, and we devoured them all, as part of a dinner.

First, bake the potatoes using either the oven or microwave. Either way, scrub them beforehand. Unlike other recipes with potatoes, you’ll actually eat that skin, so make sure its nice and clean (without soap, of course!). Then rub them with olive oil. They’ll need about five minutes in the microwave, or about an hour in the oven, at 400 degrees. Don’t forget to poke them with a fork before you use either method.

When the potatoes are finished baking, slice them in half. Let them cool a bit before you start digging out the insides.

Using a pot holder, I carefully removed the insides of each half, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in every skin.

Then place your potatoes on a cookie sheet, or in my case, a piece of my favorite stoneware.

In a normal recipe, you would stick these back in the oven with additional oil and salt too. But to avoid the extra time and fat, I went straight for the cheese.

I didn’t want to have a heaping mound of cheddar on the skins, I first added some sour cream to the skins, so they wouldn’t come out too dry. I use fat-free sour cream – definitely one of my favorite fat-free foods!

Then on top I added a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

At some point while making this, I discovered that I didn’t have bacon. So I substituted with some finely diced ham. I first gave it a quick fry in the pan before adding it to the potatoes.

And then into the oven they went for about 15 minutes at 350.

These potato skins are best served immediately. I also topped them with green onions and served them with a side of sour cream.

Superbowl Extravagaza: Healthy Guacamole

3 Feb

You might think that guacamole is one of the more fatty dips to avoid during a diet. But then you hear that avocado is good for you – a healthy fat, they say. Then why is this delicious go-to party/game dip such a calorie-laden waistline disaster? A little avocado, good for you. Heaping servings of guacamole and 15 tortilla chips…not so much! So I have learned a trick, thanks to some help from others, that will reduce the fat and calories too! Wanna know the secret?

Early Young PEAS! If you are anything like me, I know that right now you are thinking, “GROOOOSSS, what an awful thing to pair with avocado!” But I can promise that you will barely even taste it. Here’s my version of pea & avocado “guac” dip.

If you have some built up frustration, go ahead and start mashing the drained peas with the back of a spoon. Or, you can toss them in a mini food processor and push a button. I did a little of both to get the smooth consistency that I wanted for the peas.

I like my guacamole to have actual bits of avocado in it. So instead of scooping the entire avocado in at once, I mashed the peas together with one half the avocado and then added my seasoning.

For my guacamole seasoning, healthy version, or full calorie-loaded treat, I use: 1 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp onion powder. If I have fresh minced garlic on hand, I throw that in too.

Next add your veggies. I usually add both finely chopped yellow onion, and diced roma tomatoes. I love tasting the individual veggies, but if you prefer a smoother taste, leave them out, or mince both veggies to enhance the overall flavor.

Lastly, add your second half of avocado into your dip. Incorporate it with all the ingredients and then grab a chip. I know you’re skeptical, but don’t worry. You won’ taste the peas – unless you’re really searching for them.

Go ahead, have your friends at the party try it. Maybe make one without and one with to see the difference. Yes, there will be one – mostly in a slight color change, but who would have thought PEAS would be the trick? I estimate that you’ll cut calories by half and cut your fat by almost 75% less than an all-avocado version.

If you are making this in advance, cover tightly with plastic wrap and use the pit to keep the guacamole a bright green color. This recipe is best served after being in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Zaycon Coming to AZ

27 Jan

Hey Arizona residents! Zaycon is bringing seafood to you soon! They are offering Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets, Wild Alaskan True Cod Fillets, and White Shrimp.  Check out the Event Locations tab on their site to see when they’ll be in your neighborhood and to place an order. Looks like the deadline is Feb. 15th.  If you aren’t a member, be sure to register and create a new account.

Salmon comes in a 20lb case, Cod in a 20lb case, and Shrimp in a 24lb case.

Not in AZ? To see if Zaycon currently serves your location, click here.

If you aren’t familiar with Zaycon Foods, check them out there. They offer amazing deals on meat like beef, chicken, and seafood, and occasionally have fruit deals too – throughout the USA. All orders come in bulk, so plan for that on any order from them. So unless you have a large family or large freezer, it’s probably best to split the order with family or friends. Or maybe even pay it forward and surprise your friends!

Chicken Sausage Pasta

24 Jan

There is something about January that makes people want to diet and exercise. Just the word diet implies so much “yuck” that I have come to detest that word. To me, it stands for, “You can’t eat this, or that, or that, or that…” and well, you get the picture. But one thing you shouldn’t have to give up, sausage! Just like I use ground turkey for ground beef, I substitute chicken sausage for regular sausage.

I’ve made a few dishes with chicken sausage, but my favorite includes a small bed of pasta, topped with marinara, sautéed spinach, and then sliced sausage. The final product is impressive, but the process and ingredients are so easy.

First, in a medium size pot, heat four cups of water to a boil for your pasta. Add 1/2 tsp salt if desired (I always add salt to my pasta water, even just a pinch makes a difference!).

First, add 1 tbsp olive oil to a frying pan set to medium high. Next add 1/2 a medium onion, quartered. Then add your sausage.

By this time, your water should be ready for the pasta.

This is a great time to prep your sauce. I love making big batches of sauce and saving them in small containers for easy use. However, you can always use my marinara cheat or a jarred sauce if you’re short on time. If you are making a fresh sauce, reserve about 1/2 cup of tomato juice for later.

Be sure to check on your sausage, as you want the skin to brown evenly.

If you notice that your sausage is browning to quickly, turn down the heat to low and cover to finish the cooking that way. If the sausage is sticking to the pan too much, you might have not used enough oil, or the sausage isn’t ready to turn over yet. Of course, little bits will stick to the pan here and there, creating what could be a terrible to clean up mess. However, we’re going to fix that.

Remember that tomato juice from earlier? Now its time to add it to your pan to deglaze the caramelized bits on the bottom pan. And just like that, all those bits of flavor are suddenly incorporated into your sausage and onion flavors. If you didn’t use a can of tomatoes and don’t have the reserved juice, take about 1/4 cup marinara and add 2 tbsp water and then add that to the sauce. It’s the acidity from the tomatoes that help this to happen.

The smell at this point is almost heavenly, but resist the urge to eat them now! Check your pasta and drain if ready.

Its time to get our last step ready, the spinach. Add 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 minced garlic to a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Then add a heaping mound of baby spinach. I use about 1 big handfuls for each serving of this dish. If you need more than two servings, be sure to adjust the amount of oil, garlic, and butter too. Carefully toss the spinach until just wilted, and then remove from heat. At first, the pan might seem too dry, but it will come together quickly. The big mound of spinach turns into a very small amount, in an even smaller amount of time.

If you or someone eating this dish doesn’t like spinach, substitute with another more favorable vegetable. Asparagus or broccoli might work, but will impact the overall texture, since spinach is soft and incorporates better with the pasta.

Now its time to serve. First, layer the pasta followed by a serving of marinara, and sprinkle with a dash of basil.

Next, add your sautéed spinach. To incorporate the onions and sauce in the sausage pan, drizzle it on the spinach. Then, slice your sausage at an angle, and arrange atop the spinach.

This is a flavorful and filling dish without all the extra fat of a pork sausage, pasta heavy, cheesy Italian meal. Fresh spinach, light pasta, healthy sausage…time to say goodbye to the January diet! Serve this dish with a side of fruit for an even better meal.

Free Panini – Corner Bakery Cafe

24 Jan

Seriously nothing better out there than free food! And in this case, better-for-you hot breakfast sandwiches.

Chicken Apple Sausage Power Panini Thin –

Made with chicken apple sausage, freshly scrambled eggs, parmesan and cheddar cheeses on thinly sliced whole grain harvest toast.

Smoked Bacon Power Panini Thin –

Made with smoked bacon, freshly scrambled eggs, parmesan and cheddar cheeses on thinly sliced whole grain harvest toast.

Avocado & Spinach Power Panini Thin –

Made with fresh avocado and spinach, freshly scrambled eggs, parmesan and cheddar cheeses on thinly sliced whole grain harvest toast.

Click here for your free sandwich from Corner Bakery Cafe, located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Just reserve a time and location below and enjoy one for free. But do it quickly, because they’re only giving away a limited number.

Making a Healthy(er) Pumpkin Pie

5 Jan

Pumpkin Pie and healthy aren’t two words that typically go together well. Pie, in it of itself brings on feelings hefty calories. But for me, I must have pumpkin pie this time of year. So I did a lot of searching a couple of years ago, and came across a recipe from Hungry Girl. Surprising to me, pumpkin is actually a great food if you’re watching your waistline.  It’s naturally very low in fat and also rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s the eggs, sugar and thick buttery crust that adds all the extra fat, calories, and ups your sugar intake to keep you up into the wee hours of the night – after your turkey coma, of course! So next year when you get that hankering for a sweet, creamy, pumpkin pie, try this alternative.

Combine pure pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling), evaporated fat-free milk, splenda (sometimes I use half sugar, half sugar substitute, and other times, I use full sugar), and egg whites. I use egg whites instead of the egg substitute since I don’t care for products like that. Then add the syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to the mixture. The mixture will appear very thin, but don’t worry.

And now…the crust debate:

Hungry Girl uses a crust using their popular secret ingredient, ground up fiber one cereal. However, I don’t care for the consistency, so I use ready-made pie crust from the store. Its convenient, and no-fuss. I know its going to bake right and I like it for those reasons. However, when I made this pie on Christmas Day, I forgot to bring the crust over to my parent’s house. In two years, this was the fifth pie I had made there and was use to the ingredients I needed to bring and the ones my parents had on hand. Whoops!

I discovered this mistake on Christmas Eve, so we had planned to go to the store in the morning. Nothing was open when hubby went – he checked five different stores, four different shopping areas — only Starbucks was open (haha!). So my dad decided to surprise us and make a crust. While all the women in the house were out of the kitchen, he tried his hand at his first ever pie crust. You see, my dad is the number one fan of this pumpkin pie. I think he likes it better than any full fat, gourmet, restaurant, or even…yikes…Costo’s pumpkin pie! I was skeptical since my dad is a steak guy – and a great steak guy at that. Put him on the grill, making potatoes, or gravy, and it will taste amazing. Pastry chef? Not so much. Here’s what he turned out:

And into the pie shell went the pumpkin pie mixture. For reference, this dish is a 9 inch pan.

We’ve learned to time this with eating dinner and put the pie in when the holiday meat of choice (turkey, prime rib roast, etc) comes out of the oven. The pie takes about 45 minutes. We let meat rest for about 20 minutes. And take out the pie towards the end of our meal. By the time we’re ready for dessert, pie has been cooling on the counter for about an hour. Although Hungry Girl recommends chilling in the fridge for several hours or even overnight, we indulge ourselves in the pie within two hours of it coming out of the oven.

The reason for the bubbles on the pie is because of the crust. The crust wasn’t too bad – just a simple sweet pie crust. Maybe one of these days I’ll experiment with a healthy pie crust too? Remember to refrigerate the leftovers. This pie serves as a great breakfast the day after as well…!

So is this a healthy pumpkin pie – you do the math:

Regular Pumpkin Pie
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 400
Fat: 18g

Hungry Girl’s version (with fiber one crust)
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 133
Fat: 3g

My version of Hungry Girl’s version of Pumpkin Pie (estimated)
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 200
Fat: 6g

Recipe Lovers:

For Filling
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
One 12-oz. can evaporated fat-free milk
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, granulated
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
Optional Topping: Fat Free Reddi-wip

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