Tandoori Tilapia

Serves 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

Tilapia is an easy standby fish because it has such a mild taste and picks up just about any flavor you use with it. I’ve cooked it in dozens of different ways, and this Indian style version is my latest rendition. Yogurt, ginger and garlic are typical ingredients Indian restaurants use in a tandoori marination before cooking the meat, fish or vegetable at hand in a round clay oven known as a tandoor. I’ve used the same tastes in this recipe and lightened it up to make it more Tablespoon friendly. Of course, I don’t have a tandoor at home, but I have to say my stovetop version is pretty darn good!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound of tilapia
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of minced ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1/4 teaspoon of red chili powder
chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Mix together all of the ingredients except fish and cilantro.

Add fish and marinate for 30 minutes.

Warm a nonstick grill pan or nonstick regular pan over high heat and coat with cooking spray.

Lower heat and add fish. Cook for 4 minutes per side- times might vary depending on thickness of fillets.

If desired, squeeze with a little lemon juice, and top with cilantro.

Serving Suggestions:

Try with a warmed whole-wheat pita or a Food for Life Brown Rice Tortilla. The zucchini I posted a few weeks ago is an ideal veggie side.

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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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Swiss Chard and Shrimp Whole-Wheat Rotini

Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Vegetarian Substitutes

I’m a big believer in having some sort of whole-grain starch at every meal in reasonable portions- they give me the energy I need to fuel my busy days and put me in a good mood. Though I aim for lots of variety like quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, brown rice and dense, dark breads, I seldom eat pasta. I thought the best way to change that would be to come up with an appealing recipe where I could incorporate this Italian staple. Swiss chard is an extremely nutrition packed green that comes into the season in the Fall so I decided to use that as my inspiration. Mahir raved about how good the dish was and though he refuses to eat leftover seafood, he asked me to pack him the extras for his lunch next day. That was my sure sign that my experiment was a success!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound of medium, large or extra large shrimp
1 to 1.5 cups of dry whole wheat rotini (or your favorite pasta)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large bunch of swiss chard, washed and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In the meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium nonstick pan and saute garlic. Add swiss chard, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry for 3 to 6 minutes or until wilted.

Remove from pan.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper.

Heat another teaspoon of oil in the same pan, add shrimp and cook until done- about 2 to 3 minutes a side depending on size of shrimp.

Turn off heat.

Add swiss chard, pasta and all the other seasonings to the pan, and mix together.

Serving Suggestions:

This is a self-encompassing meal, but feel free to add a simple lettuce, tomato and onion salad as a side dish.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

You can use canned or fresh chickpeas or cannellini beans in place of the shrimp. Skip the sauteeing shrimp step, and leave the swiss chard in the pan. Add all the other ingredients including one can of beans and the extra teaspoon of olive oil that you didn’t use to saute the shrimp.

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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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Stir-Fried Kale

Stir-Fried Kale
Serves 2 to 4 as a side dish
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

I’m sad that all the bountiful produce that comes with summer has come to an end, but I look do look forward to some of the wonderful vegetables that come into season in fall and winter like kale. This leafy dark green vegetable is a true nutrition powerhouse- besides being low in calories and high in fiber like most vegetables, it has calcium, iron and Vitamins A,C and K. It also has nearly seven time the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. I love putting it in soups and making kale chips, but one of my favorite standbys is a simple stir-fry. The scallions in this recipe add an a nice onion flavor that’s not too overpowering- the earthy taste of the kale itself is meant to shine.

Ingredients:

1 large bunch of kale, washed and chopped into medium sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Warm oil over medium heat in a large nonstick pan.

Add garlic, and fry in the oil for one minute.

Add in scallions, and fry together with garlic for an additional minute.

Add in kale, season with salt and pepper, and keep stir-frying with the scallions and garlic until the leaves wilt into the pan- about three to five minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

Try with simple grilled chicken breasts and a crusty whole-wheat roll or alongside any grilled fish like salmon, halibut or tilapia.

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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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Paprika Shrimp and Veggies

Paprika Shrimp and Veggies
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

Like so many dishes we cook at home, I owe this one to our nanny Tess. It came together without much forethought: I had fresh shrimp but didn’t have a specific dish in mind. I only knew that I wanted to use up some leftover veggies that we had, and I asked her to come up with something. A half-hour later, this is the amazing creation she turned out. It can be enjoyed like a stir-fry over rice or on its own with a roll. The combination of vegetables is great with the shrimp, and the paprika adds a delightful but not overpowering flavor. I’ve used this spice in curries before but not in a style like this where it plays a starring role. Besides the seasonings, you’ll love how fast it comes together.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound large or extra-large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 bunch of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
1 large handful of green beans, trimmed
1 small carrot, sliced thinly at a diagonal
1 small red, orange or yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

Heat half of the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick pan, and saute garlic and onion for three minutes or until the onions are soft.

Add in all the vegetables except the broccoli and pepper, and saute for five minutes. Add broccoli and peppers, and saute another five minutes or until the vegetables are soft but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the shrimp with the paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and lemon. Warm the remaining oil in a separate nonstick pan or grill pan on medium heat, add shrimp and cook until done- about two to three minutes a side depending on size.

Mix with the cooked vegetables. The vegetables will absorb the seasonings from the shrimp.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve this dish over a bed of brown rice stir-fry style or alongside a crusty whole-wheat roll.

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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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Zucchini Indian Style

Zucchini Indian Style
Serves 3 to 4
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

Zucchini is a favorite vegetable of mine, but you’ll usually never see it on Indian restaurant menus or find Indians cooking it with the Asian touch. I was in Bombay last December staying with my in-laws, and while visiting a grocery store in the Breach Candy area that carries foodstuff not commonly found in India, I saw a basket of verdant green zucchini begging to be bought. My mother-in-law is an exceptional cook, but her cuisine is limited to that of her upbringing so I picked up two zucchini and asked her to make it for me with her touch. She was hesitant as she had never cooked this vegetable before, but, not surprisingly, the recipe came out delicious. And, my mother-in-law tells me that she liked it so much that she’s added it to her repertoire as well even though I’m not there.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, cut into coins and halved
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium tomato, diced into small chunks
1/2 onion, cut into thin slivers
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup water
cilantro, finely chopped for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Warm oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat.

Saute garlic and onion for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft.

Add in tomatoes, and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in spices into onion tomato mixture, and fry for two minutes.

Add in zucchini and water cook until soft but not overly mushy (about 5 to 7 minutes).

Turn off heat, and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Serving Suggestions:

Try this with Aparna’s Turkey Tikkis and some warmed whole wheat rotis (whole wheat tortillas make a fine substitute).

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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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