Tag Archives: low fat

Healthy Whole-wheat Banana Muffins

Today’s Menu: Low-fat whole-wheat banana muffins with coconut, flax seed, oats and honey

banana-muffins

We eat a lot of bananas in our household but with the Florida summer heat now in full effect our bananas ripen faster than usually. Today I had a few that were on their way to the bin so I decided to repurpose these and make us a nutritious snack for the weekend. Bananas themselves are packed full of potassium. Potassium is an important mineral for the correct function of tissues, cells and organs in the body, especially normal digestion and muscular function.
Unfortunately muffins tend to contain too many calories, fat and refined flour and sugar but you can still enjoy this breakfast favourite by just replacing a few ingredients. I swapped out the sugar with honey, bleached flour with whole-wheat and added a few non-traditional ingredients like flax seed, oats and coconut for an extra boost.

Makes 12 small muffins
Prep time: 10 mins. | Cook time: 15-20 mins.

3-4 ripe bananas, smashed
1 c whole-wheat flour
1 c oats
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp honey
1/2 skim milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 c unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp milled flaxseed
1/4 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl and transfer to a slightly greased muffin pan. I like to fill mine just above half way to make my portion sizes slightly smaller 🙂

Sources: http://www.livestrong.com/article/230722-banana-nutrition-guide/#ixzz2WIolEfX4

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Chicken & Pesto Whole-Wheat Crust Pizza

Tonight’s Menu: Whole-wheat pizza with chicken, pesto, artichoke and roasted red peppers

Who doesn’t love pizza?! Oh, but all that fat could leave you feeling guilty for days. Making small improvements to this classic will not only set your mind at ease, your heart will thank you too. Plus, the whole-grain content will leave you feeling fuller longer!

Dough
1 tbsp. honey
1 1/4 c. warm water
1, 1/4 oz pack  yeast
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Dissolve the honey in water and add the yeast. Let sit until the yeast foams slightly (approx. 5 minutes).
In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours.
Combine 3 c. of the flour mixture and salt in a bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
Knead the flour mixture by hand, gradually adding enough of the remaining flour mixture so that the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (approx. 10 minutes).
Shape the dough into a ball and put in a large oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat it with oil.
Allow to rise in a warm location until doubled in size (approx. 45 – 60 minutes).
Punch down the dough and divide into 2 sections. Roll each section into a ball.
Flatten each round into a 12″ circle using your hands or with a rolling-pin, stretching out as necessary to achieve a thin dough.

Top the prepared crusts with your favorite toppings.
My favorite combination is crushed tomatoes, pesto, low-fat mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, chicken breast slices and artichokes.

After you add your desired toppings allow each prepared round to rest in a warm location for 15 minutes.
Bake in a 475° oven until crust is golden brown, approx. 20 minutes.

Buon appetito! xo

Stuffed Chicken with Cabbage and Sweet Potato Pancakes

Tonight’s Menu: Chicken stuffed with caramelized onion, apple and cream cheese topped with a sour cream jus served with steamed cabbage and potato pancakes.

Stuffed chicken breasts are one of my favorite dishes to prepare. Not only are there so many flavour combinations to choose from, they  also look great on your plate. I have stuffed chicken breasts many different ways so I opted to show you my favorite and a sure-fire way to avoid losing your stuffing during the cooking process. If you’re not so keen on cabbage or have cut potato from your diet this recipe works well with grilled vegetables as well.

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 lg.onion (sliced)
1 lg. apple (grated and drained)
3 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese
2 tbsp. olive oil
S&P

Sauce
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. fat-free sour cream
S&P

2 sweet potatoes (grated and drained)
1 egg
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. olive oil
S&P

1/2 head of cabbage (sliced)

Place a medium skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil and onions. Leave to cook stirring occasionally for approx. 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the onions into a bowl and set aside the pan to be used for your chicken.

Heat oven to 400º. In a large bowl mix together potato, egg, nutmeg and S&P (about 1 tsp. each). Grease a large skillet with olive oil. Press potato mixture firmly into skillet and set on medium-low heat. When the potato has browned slightly on the bottom insert the skillet into the oven for approx. 20 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together 3/4 of caramelized, cream cheese and apple. season with S&P and set aside.
Prepare chicken by inserting a sharp knife into the large portion of the breast and create a cavity without puncturing the top or bottom of the breast. See the (poorly done) video below for a visual. Be sure not to make your incision too large or the stuffing with escape during the cooking process.

When your chicken is stuffed, heat the skillet used for the onions over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add 1 tbsp. olive oil and your stuffed chicken. Season with S&P and brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken from the skillet into an oven safe pan and set aside your skillet to be used for the sauce. Insert into oven for approx. 15 minutes or until cooked throughly. It is best to use a thermometer when cooking chicken. The internal temperature should reach 170º.  When there is 10 minutes remaining you should start to steam your cabbage.

Place skillet used for the chicken back on to the stove and increase heat to high. Deglaze the pan with the wine then add the stock. Reduce to 1/4 of original volume, season with S&P and add in remaining caramelized onions. Set aside.

When everything has finished cooking set your sauce back onto low heat and stir in the sour cream. Carefully flip the pancake onto a cutting board. Portion into four even wedges and set onto plates. Top with cabbage and chicken (I like to cut the chicken on a bias through the middle to show the stuffing), then top with sauce.

This menu was a little time consuming but well worth it! xO

Smoked Chicken at Home

Today’s Lesson: Smoking chicken in your own backyard.

Smoking any type of meat, poultry or fish is a low-fat way to infuse flavor. Most people pass on doing this themselves assuming that it is too much work or it cannot be done without an expensive bbq smoker. When working with Chef Steffan Howard years ago I learned an easy makeshift way of smoking food with items most of us have at home. I have modified his original method slightly to include my bbq. This method will work for all types of protein listed above.

Prep time: 45 mins | Cook time: 1 hr

1 large whole chicken (organic of course!)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 orange cut into wedges
1 sprig rosemary (chopped)
S&P

Equipment list
1 large deep heavy roasting pan with lid
1 rack that fits in top of pan
1 bag of smoking chips; flavor of your choice (found at your local Canadian Tire)
Barbque (racks removed)
Oven Mitts

Fill bottom of pan with wood chips, you will probably only need 1/2 to 3/4 of the bag. Cover with tap water and let soak for 30 mins.

When time has passed drain chips, mix with hand and place rack on pan. Stuff chicken with orange wedges and season with oil, rosemary and S&P. Place chicken on the rack and cover with the lid.

Remove the racks from your bbq and set to high heat. Place pan directly on grill bricks.

Reduce bbq heat to medium-high and let cook for approx. 1 hour checking on its progress 2 or 3 times. There should be constant smoke in the pan. Use a meat thermometer to determine when finished, chicken will be done when the breast reaches a temperature of 170°F (77°C).

Safely remove from grill with mitts and serve immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator. Smoked chicken can be eaten as is or in various dishes including pastas, salads, sandwiches etc. Stay tuned for a few of my favorites in the next week.

Smoken hot! xO

Thai Beef Noodle Soup

Today’s Menu: Thai inspired beef and vegetable soup with rice noodles.

After a very gluttonous and yummy Easter weekend at my sister’s house the last thing I wanted was a heavy dinner. Over the past few days I have indulged in everything from glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, home-made hamburgers, lindt chocolate bunnies and the list goes on. It is now time to get back on track!
I am a huge fan of the fresh flavors found in most Thai cooking not to mention the limited amount of fat that is used to prepare it.
This soup eats like a meal, is nutritious, low in fat and won’t weigh you down.

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

1 tbsp. fresh ginger (peeled & chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
3 stalks of lemon grass (chopped)
1 L. beef stock
1 pkg. rice noodles
S&P

12 oz. beef strips
1 tsp. olive oil
1 red pepper (sliced)
2 large carrots (julienned)
4 tbsp. cilantro (chopped)
2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
juice of one lime
S&P

Place a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add stock, lemon grass, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 min.

While stock is simmering heat a large skillet to medium-high and add oil and beef. Brown beef and remove from pan, add the peppers and carrots. Saute for approx. 5 mins. Return beef to the pan and deglaze with soy and lime juice. Season with S&P, remove from heat and set aside.

When stock is finished simmering, season with S&P to taste and add rice noodles, stir and remove from heat. When noodles are soft, portion beef mixture into bowls, top with noodles and spoon over stock. Top each portion with cilantro and serve.

Souper-lious! xO

Red Curry & Black Garlic Rubbed Salmon with Green Mango Salad

Tonight’s Menu: Red curry and black garlic rubbed salmon with green mango salad and brown rice.

I was so excited today when I found black garlic at my local grocery. I have never worked with it before so I decided to add it to red curry paste having heard the flavor tends to be sweeter with a molasses-like richness. I can say I was quite impressed as it did not leave a strong after taste you would normally experience with unfermented raw garlic. I have also read that it has nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic. Highly recommended, I can’t wait to use it again!

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 mins  |  Cook time:  10 mins

4, 6 oz salmon filet
2 cloves of black garlic (minced)
2 tbsp. red curry paste
1 tsp. olive oil

2 large unripened mangoes (julienned)
1 small red onion (sliced thin)
1 red pepper (julienned)
5 tbsp. chopped peanuts
4 tbsp. chopped cilantro
4 tsp. fish sauce
3 tsp. honey
1 tsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp. Asian chili sauce or hot pepper sauce
S&P

Prepared brown rice

Set oven to 400º.
Mix curry paste and black garlic in a small bowl. Rub on the top of each salmon portion and set aside.

In a large bowl toss together mango, onion, red pepper, cilantro and peanuts. In a small bowl mix together fish sauce, honey, hot sauce, lime juice and oil until well blended and pour over the mango mixture. Toss well and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. When smoking add oil and salmon; curry side down. Sear until blacken and place skillet into the oven. Cook for 5 to 10 mins. and remove when done to your liking.

xO

Mussels Provencal

Today’s Menu: Mussels Provencal

Mussels, a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner option are very low in fat and so easy to prepare. There are so many ways to prepare them so I decided upon a classic for my first mussel post. Make sure you ask for the newest arrivals and inspect them yourself to make double sure the shells are closed. Keep on ice in the fridge until ready to use.

Mussels are a good source of Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Potassium and Zinc, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin B12, Iron, Phosphorus, Manganese and Selenium. (http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4186/2)

2 pounds mussels
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion (Brunoise or fine diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 c. white wine
1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. fresh parsley (chopped)
S&P

Clean mussels and set aside. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onions and garlic. Saute until tender and increase heat to high. Deglaze with white wine and add the tomatoes, parsley and cinnamon. Simmer for 3 mins, add the mussels and cover until all mussels open up. Divide the mussels into serving bowls with a splotted spoon. Leave liquid over heat until reduced slightly (approx. 3 mins) and spoon evenly over mussels.

Make sure you have a few large bowls ready for serving and sprinkle finished product with coarse sea salt.

GFYG Express! xO