Bacon & Leek Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Bacon Leek Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Bacon & Leek Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers
Vegetarian Substitutes

I had some bacon left over from making the Bacon “Fried” Rice a couple weeks back,  and here’s what I did with it! This recipe is inspired by my favorite dish served at Wolf’s Biergarten in Albany, a popular haunt among our group of friends for birthday celebrations. Fresh brussels sprouts get fantastic flavor from leeks and bacon, livened up with the bright flavors of lemon and thyme. This is one of those recipes that can change a person’s mind about brussels sprouts. Folks who don’t usually like them have been seen devouring large portions of these!      ~ Susan

Ingredients

1 cup thinly sliced leeks – use the lighter part closer to the roots, save the green part for another use
2 strips of bacon – diced
1 lb brussels sprouts – cut in half
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
fresh lemon wedges

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook diced bacon in a skillet until nicely browned, but not burned. Remove bacon from excess fat and let it drain on a plate lined with a brown paper bag or unbleached paper towel.

Toss leeks, cooked bacon and brussels sprouts together with the olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and water.

Arrange mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until water is evaporated, and brussels sprouts are lightly browned but still slightly crunchy.

Serve them hot from the oven with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon.

Serving Suggestions

Excellent with grilled chicken sausages and boiled new potatoes.
Try them with a roast chicken and a side of brown basmati rice or quinoa.

Vegetarian Substitutes

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Try using Smokey Tempeh Strips (Fakin Bacon) in place of real bacon, you’ll love it.

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Veggie & Egg Skillet

Vegetable Egg Skillet

Veggie & Egg Skillet
Serves 2 – 3
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

This is a new favorite of ours for breakfast or lunch. Scott created the basic recipe years ago – he’s a master at making up delicious scrambled egg concoctions! This one has always stayed in our rotation, we love the interesting addition of oregano and cumin. Lately we’ve been making it as a frittata style skillet dish instead of as a scramble. You can slice it into wedges which look really lovely on the plate. For our Tablespoon version we use three egg whites and two whole eggs for 2 servings, but you could make it with all egg whites if you’re really trying to cut down on the fat.     ~ Susan

Ingredients

3 large egg whites
2 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
1/3 cup red onion – small dice
1/3 cup yellow pepper – small dice
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt to taste
optional garnishes – crumbled goat cheese, minced red onion, chopped fresh herbs, hot sauce

Instructions

Whisk all the eggs together with the sea salt and set aside.

Place an oven rack on the top setting in the oven (making sure your skillet will fit).
Preheat your oven broiler.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium sized oven-proof non-stick (or well seasoned cast iron) skillet.

Saute the onions and peppers for one minute. Add cumin and oregano and sauté another two minutes.

Add spinach leaves and saute for a few seconds or until lightly wilted.

Pour egg mixture, covering veggies evenly. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet and let the mixture cook for 3 minutes.

Remove cover and place skillet under the broiler. Close oven door and broil for another 2 minutes, or just until the rest of the egg mixture has set.

Use an oven mitt to remove skillet from oven. Add garnishes of your choice, slice into wedges, and serve warm.

Serving Suggestions

Toasted whole grain bread or fresh seasonal fruit are both good choices for a perfect carbohydrate accompaniment.

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Turkey & Romaine Boats with Lemon & Soy Sauce

Turkey Lettuce Asian Wrap

Turkey & Romaine Boats with Lemon & Soy Sauce
Serves 2
Can be halved | Can be doubled

Thanksgiving is next week for most families, but we had ours early this year, since my family was visiting from far away. Now I’m faced with the inevitable leftover roast turkey in the fridge, and finding creative ways to use it up without getting totally bored of the same old thing each day. Today’s lunch uses some leftover roast turkey in a quick and easy recipe, which can also be handy when using up leftover roast chicken. After the traditionally heavy, starchy Thanksgiving meal, this is also an attractive recipe in that it’s very light, with no starches at all!     ~ Susan

Ingredients

4 romaine heart leaves, each about 5-7 inches long
2 cups roast turkey breast – broken into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
a handful of arugula, or other fresh herb such as basil, mint or cilantro
fresh lemon to taste
tamari soy sauce to taste
a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds or a few drops of toasted sesame oil
optional – hot sauce to taste

Instructions

Fill each romaine heart leaf with some turkey, red onions and arugula or other herb of your choice.

Squeeze fresh lemon over each turkey “boat”, followed by a dash of tamari soy sauce and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds or a few drops of toasted sesame oil.

Optional – drizzle a few drops of hot sauce over each one and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

If you’re hungry for more than protein and greens, try making this into a sandwich on whole grain bread.

Add some shredded carrots for more color and extra nutrition.

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Spicy Bacon “Fried” Rice

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Spicy Bacon “Fried” Rice
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen

Oh my goodness this is a tasty treat! And it’s so much healthier than ordering fried rice in a Chinese restaurant where the tendency is to use copious amounts of questionable oils. Plus, you don’t see bacon fried rice on many menus… My mother in law has been making her version of this dish since my hubby was a kid and he loves it, which was my motivation for creating a Tablespoon version of the dish. Here at home we throw in whatever vegetables we have around, always starting with onions, carrots and frozen baby peas. Try mushrooms, water chestnuts, broccoli, peppers, baby corn, snap peas…    ~ Susan

Ingredients

2 strips of thick cut bacon – diced
1 cup onion – diced
1 cup carrots – diced
1 cup thawed baby peas
3-4 cups leftover cooked rice – try white or brown basmati rice
2 eggs – whipped with a fork until well blended
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
tamari soy sauce to taste
asian style hot sauce to taste

Instructions

Heat a large non-stick (or well seasoned cast iron) skillet over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Stir fry until it begins to brown and the fat renders from the meat. Turn off the heat. Remove bacon pieces to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess fat. Strain off most of the remaining fat drippings from the pan, keeping just enough to stir fry the remaining veggies.

Return pan to the heat, add onions and carrots and stir fry until they are getting lightly browned and a bit tender. Add the eggs and sea salt and slowly stir, allowing eggs to “scramble” until well cooked. Add the bacon, the peas, and the rice and combine it all well. Add tamari and hot sauce to taste and serve while hot!

Serving Suggestions

A side of sauteed spinach or stir fried cabbage are great side dishes to go with this rice, or a marinated cucumber salad would be great too!

Vegetarian Substitutes

Try diced shiitake mushrooms, or diced smokey tempeh strips, also called “fakin bacon, or small diced seitan in place of the bacon, or simply omit the bacon and make a tasty veggie fried rice.

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Chicken & Vegetable Stew

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Chicken & Vegetable Stew
Serves 4-6
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes Great leftovers | Can be frozen

This dish freezes very well, which makes it very handy for our current situation: a newborn daughter in the house and very little time to cook! I made a batch of chicken stew a few weeks ago and froze a few containers to have at the ready for once baby was here, and last night was a perfect night to defrost a batch for a quick and hearty meal. We have a good friend visiting, and she loved this dinner so much she went back for seconds and even thirds! It’s also really good made with cubed tofu, seitan, turkey, lamb or beef.  ~ Susan

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast – cut into bite size cubes
1 cup diced onion
3 cups sliced celery
3 cups carrot chunks
2 cups defrosted frozen peas (I like baby peas, they’re tender and sweet)
3 cups potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil or safflower oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dry granulated garlic
3 large bay leaves
1 small can tomato paste – mixed with 1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup red wine (cabernet is a good choice)
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat oil in a large thick bottomed pot, add onions and sauté until very lightly browned. Add chicken, celery, carrot, thyme, basil, bay leaves, tomato paste-water mixture and red wine. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and peas, with salt & pepper to taste. Let it come back to a boil and reduce heat again to low, cover and simmer another 15 minutes, or until everything is tender.

If you end up with a lot of soupy broth in the pot you can thicken it a bit with arrowroot or cornstarch.

Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve hot, garnished with parsley or scallions.

Even better the next day!

Serving Suggestions

Warm whole grain bread and a simple salad with balsamic vinegar & olive oil are all you need to turn this into a great meal.

Vegetarian Substitutes

Seitan or cubed tofu are both excellent in this stew.

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Sesame Ginger Spinach Salad with Shrimp & Oranges

Sesame Ginger Spinach Salad with Shrimp & Oranges Low Fat Recipe

Sesame Ginger Spinach Salad with Shrimp & Oranges
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved
Vegetarian Substitutes

Here’s a fabulous entree salad which takes only moments to throw together, while having a great “wow” factor. Easy to make any day for lunch or dinner, it’s also elegant enough to serve for special guests. And talk about a nutrition powerhouse – spinach, red cabbage, fresh oranges and simply steamed shrimp – you’ve got your iron and minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and high quality protein all on one plate. Jazz it up with the simple dressing, add some kick with sliced scallions – delicious and nutritious!    ~ Susan

Ingredients:

For the salad

12 large (31-40 count) steamed shrimp – chilled
6 cups baby spinach
3/4 cups julienned red cabbage
3/4 cup sliced scallions
1 small orange – peeled and sliced

For the dressing

1 tablespoon honey + 1 tablespoon warm water – combined
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon peanut oil or canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry ground ginger

Instructions:

To make the dressing, combine the honey and water in a measuring cup or small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

For the salad, toss spinach, cabbage and dressing together in a mixing bowl. Use tongs to divide mixture equally onto two large plates, reserving the remaining dressing which collects in the bottom of the bowl. Arrange the oranges and shrimp on top of the salads and garnish with plenty of sliced scallions. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the shrimp and oranges and serve!

Serving Suggestions:

To make a more robust meal serve a side bowl of brown rice for each portion with a simple miso broth poured into it, garnished with strips of toasted nori seaweed, or more scallions.

If you like a spicy-hot salad dressing – add a few dashes of Asian style hot sauce to the mixture.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Use cubed tofu in place of the shrimp, or for a special treat try it with a handful of toasted cashews instead!

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Greek Wedding Soup

Greek Wedding Soup Low Fat Recipe

Greek Wedding Soup
Serves 3-4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

This recipe may look complicated at first glance but it’s really easy to put together, especially if you have a food processor. The only labor-intensive part is rolling all the meatballs, so while you’re at it, why not double the recipe and freeze half for a future meal? The orzo may expand a bit when frozen, but the defrosted soup is still delicious. This is a fun meal for when you’ve got kids at the dinner table – chicken soup with meatballs and pasta is an easy winner, and all that healthy spinach just gets gobbled up!  ~ Susan

Ingredients:

for the meatballs
1 lb ground turkey breast (or a combination of light & dark)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 egg
3/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs (we make ours from toasted bread)
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

for the soup
6 cups chicken broth (we use homemade, otherwise buy a simple organic broth)
1 cup orzo (use whole grain orzo if you can find it)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
8 cups packed baby spinach leaves
sea salt to taste

optional – yellow bell pepper slices & tomato slices for garnish

Make the meatballs:

Preheat oven to 350F. Put turkey and parsley into a mixing bowl.

Make bread crumbs by putting toasted crumbled bread in a food processor fitted with the double blade and pulsing until finely ground. Add onion & garlic cloves and pulse until everything is well combined. Add breadcrumb mixture to the mixing bowl.

Put egg and feta into the food processor and mix until feta is broken into very small bits and egg is well blended. Add egg mixture to mixing bowl. Add sea salt & black pepper. Use your hands to combine all ingredients. Lightly wet your hands to roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake meatballs for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the soup:

Heat chicken broth to boiling, add orzo, reduce heat to medium, and cook 7-8 minutes.

Add the baked meatballs, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and granulated garlic.

Taste soup and adjust seasonings to your liking (you might like it more lemony, or a little more salty).

Roughly chop spinach leaves and add to the pot.

Let spinach cook in for one minute and serve immediately, garnished with tomato & pepper slices.

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Quick & Easy Meat Sauce

Quick & Easy Meat Sauce Low Fat Recipe

Quick & Easy Meat Sauce
Serves 3
Can be doubled | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen
Vegetarian Substitutes

There’s just something about a hearty pot of homemade meat sauce, sometimes nothing else will do. I don’t get cravings for red meat too often, but when I do, it’s almost always for this recipe. As the cold weather season approaches, the craving has struck. And since it’s so quick and easy to make, I’ve just whipped up a big batch! I enjoy this rich, flavorful meat sauce not only with pasta, but also with brown rice, boiled potatoes, or even mixed together with steamed vegetables for a delicious, nutrient packed bowl of goodness. I usually make a double or triple batch (shown here) and freeze it in smaller portions so I’ll  have a few quick meals on hand for when the craving strikes again.     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb very lean ground beef – we get our pasture-raised beef from a local farmer
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon dry granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes – try Muir Glen organic
1 6 oz can tomato paste – mixed with 2/3 cup water
sea salt to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add scallions and sauté for 2 minutes or until lightly browned.

Add ground beef and use a spatula to break up the meat as it cooks, until it’s all crumbled into small bits and cooked throughout.

Add herbs and spices, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste/water mixture.

Add sea salt to taste, stir it all together and bring it up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, let simmer for a few minutes, just until you see the oil separating from the sauce. It’s ready!

I recommend making enough for leftovers – it only gets better.

Serving Suggestions:

It’s great with whole grain pasta. I love it over sliced boiled potatoes or a bowl of brown rice too.
You can serve it over a bed of steamed vegetables if you want to eat low carb.
When I reheat leftover portions of the sauce I like to add any combination of broccoli, chopped green beans, carrots, mushrooms, spinach and/or kale.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Grind seitan in a food processor until it’s coarsely “crumbled” and use that in place of the beef.

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Creamy Beet Salad

Creamy Beet Salad Low Fat Recipe

Creamy Beet Salad
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers

In this recipe, simply steamed beets are paired with a ridiculously easy dressing and some crisp raw red onion to create an elegant appetizer or side dish that is a treat for the eyes and the taste buds. While beets are available all year round, their peak season around these parts is from June through October, so I’ve been taking advantage of the gorgeous varieties available from our local farmers lately. When you buy a bunch, save those beet greens too – they’re fantastic sauteed with a touch of garlic or added to soups!   ~ Susan

Ingredients:

2 medium-small beets, or 1 large
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion or sweet vidalia onion
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
optional – chopped parsley, dill or chervil for garnish

Instructions:

Scrub the beets well or peel them.

Slice into thin slices.

Steam beet slices for 3 minutes or just until fork-tender.

Let beet slices cool to room temperature.

In a small dish combine mayo, vinegar, a touch of salt and a good dose of pepper.

Place beets, red onion, and dressing mixture into a mixing bowl and toss gently just until combined. Divide equally onto two plates.

Garnish with fresh chopped herb of your choice and serve!

Serving Suggestions:

I like this salad on its own as an appetizer or snack.

It’s a great side dish for lemony grilled chicken, along with some green vegetables such as steamed broccoli, asparagus or green beans or a green salad.

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Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers

Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers Low Fat Recipe

Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers
Serves 3-4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen*
Vegetarian Substitutes

These are so good. Usually you’d think of cooking chicken skewers on a grill, but lately I’ve been cooking these in a skillet with great success. In a pan the sauce has a chance to really caramelize and coat the chicken, whereas on the grill most of the sauce cooks off. Cook up a batch and keep them in the fridge for a quick snack anytime. Or, marinate a whole batch, cook up half and *freeze the other half for future use. To really infuse the chicken with flavor make sure you marinate for at least 6-8 hours or, even better, 24 hours before cooking. These skewers also make great party food or appetizers!      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of all excess fat
1/4 cup fruit-sweetened apricot preserves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup all natural BBQ sauce – we love OrganicVille original
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Cut trimmed chicken thighs into large bite size pieces.

In a large mixing bowl combine the apricot preserves, vinegar, BBQ sauce, granulated garlic and sea salt.

Add the chicken and mix very well to coat evenly.

Place chicken and all the sauce in a storage container and marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight is ideal.

Thread marinated chicken onto skewers (make sure they will fit in your skillet), leaving space at either end of skewer.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or well seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat and add skewers. Cook skewers, turning a few times, until chicken is cooked throughout and sauce is nicely caramelized. My trick is to keep adding a bit of water to the pan as they cook, so the sauce doesn’t dry out or burn before the chicken is cooked, then I let the water and sauce dry out a little, so it caramelizes and gets nice and thick. Lastly, swirl the chicken skewers through the thickened sauce to make sure plenty of it sticks to the chicken.

Serve these hot, or let cool to room temp.

Serving Suggestions:

As an appetizer you can put one or two of these on a small plate, with a leaf of lettuce underneath.

For a meal, these go great with rice, or roasted vegetables, or boiled new potatoes. We always add a big crunchy salad with lots of colorful vegetables tossed in.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Try firm extra cubed tofu or seitan in place of the chicken.

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