Paprika Rubbed Cod

Paprika Rubbed Cod
Serves 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

With all the holiday events we have the next few weeks, I know I’ll be enjoying good food and drinks more often than normal. I try to balance out the indulgence by having light meals at home that are also very fast to prepare- this cod recipe meets that criteria. The seasonings are very flavorful, and you don’t need any oil. Cod is so low in calories (around 190 for an 8-ounce fillet according to www.calorieking.com) that you can easily have a half-pound serving. And, since it’s also protein rich, this entree will keep you satistfied and full.

Ingredients:

2, 8 ounce cod fillets
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
juice of 1/2 a large lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together except for the cod to make a paste, and rub all over the fillets.

Place fish on foil lined sheet or any oven-proof dish and bake for 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn off oven, and turn on broiler on high. Broil until fish is cooked and lightly brown- maybe another 2 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with a big salad and some crispy whole-grain crackers or crusty whole-wheat roll.

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Simple Salmon

Simple Salmon
Serves 2
Can Be Doubled| Can Be Halved

This recipe is laughably simple, but it’s just delicious and came to fruition after much trail and error with different salmon recipes. Salmon is such a buttery, flavorful fish with plenty of good fat, but so many restaurants muck up its taste by adding gobs of butter or other extraneous seasonings. Mahir and I love the basic salmon served at French bistros in Paris and New York City, and I think we’ve come up with a version that stands up to the best boites. The trick is to use the best quality salmon you can find and broil the fish for the last few minutes of cooking to give it a beautiful, brown glaze.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2, 6-ounce salmon fillets
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Season fish with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Depending on thickness of fish, bake for 5 to 7 minutes.

Turn off oven, turn on broiler on high (make sure salmon is on the top rack directly underneath the flame), and broil until fish is cooked- probably another 3 to 5 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve over brown rice or alongside a baked white or sweet potato. Lightly sauteed spinach or broccoli work well as vegetables with this meal.

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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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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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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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Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale

Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale Low Fat Recipe

Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale
Serves 4 – 6
Can be doubled | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well
Vegetarian Substitutes

This is something we threw together the other day out of things we had in the house. It turned out remarkably good and was very easy to make. I “cheated” a little when creating this recipe, adding some jarred pasta sauce that needed to be used up, but the result was so tasty I’m not going to change a thing, we’ll make it the exact same way next time. And yes, after enjoying this soup for dinner two nights in a row we’ve already decided there will definitely be a next time, and we’ll be doubling the recipe!     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1/2 cup onion – small dice
1/2 cup celery – small dice
1 cup carrot – small dice
1 quart (4 cups) *homemade chicken broth (or two 14.5 oz cans of organic broth)
2 cups jarred pasta sauce (we used Classico tomato basil – very low fat, all natural!)
2 cups cooked whole grain macaroni
1 can white cannelini beans – rinsed & drained
6 cups chopped kale leaves – stems removed
1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano & thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried granulated garlic
sea salt & black pepper to taste

optional – chopped parsley & scallions for garnish

*We prefer homemade broth to most store bought varieties, especially some of the boxed organic broths, which have way too many flavors added. Our is nothing more than the water left over from when we poach chicken for chicken salad or other chicken recipes. We add a few bay leaves while poaching and lightly season the broth with sea salt. Refrigerate the broth overnight, remove most of the solidified fat the next day and freeze broth in pint & quart containers for uses such as this recipe.

Instructions:

Place the onion, celery and carrot in a large soup pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Add everything else, bring back to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer another 5 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, and serve! We garnished ours with chopped parsley and scallions.

Serving Suggestions:

Slices of whole grain bread with a sprinkle of parmesan on top, popped in the toaster oven, was our accompaniment of choice – a perfect combination with the soup!

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Use your favorite vegetable bouillon or broth in place of the chicken broth.

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Dried Herb Omelet

Dried Herb Omelet
Serves 1
Can be Doubled

This recipe is another one that I picked up in Malibu. Our friends who we rented our house with brought along their nanny Ika who, like our nanny Tess, happens to be a fabulous cook. I saw her making this omelet on our first morning there and was skeptical that using only dried herbs could make for a tasty end result. I took the bite that she offered me and realized I was wrong- this dish which has no oil and requires no chopping is full of flavor and is ready in a flash. It’s great for any meal, but it’s become a weekend lunchtime favorite in our house.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 tablespoon of water or milk
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Heat a small to medium nonstick over on medium heat and coat with cooking spray.

While pan is heating, beat the eggs using a whisk until fluffy, adding liquid halfway through.

Add herbs and salt and pepper.

Pour egg batter onto pan, and cook until edges are lightly brown, and the middle is no longer runny.

Flip, and cook an additional minute or two.

Serving Suggestions:

Whole-wheat or Food for Life Ezekiel toast with a dollop of butter is a great starch option. Get your veggies  in with a simple salad of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and carrots or any lightly stir-fried or steamed vegetable like broccoli, zucchini or green beans.

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Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s

Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well

The three of us recently spent a week at a lovely beach house in Malibu with our friends Raj and Aparna and their two kids. The house had a huge backyard that overlooked the sea and was so beautiful that we ended up cooking most of our meals on the outdoor grill and canceled many of our dinner reservations. We all had recipes we tried- more of those coming later- but the grande finale to our cookfest was these tikki’s. Tikki’s are basically mini-patties, but you can actually shape these any way you like. They are an old family recipe of Aparna’s and were so good that I made a double batch of them within two days of returning from our trip.

Her recipe uses ground lamb, but I substituted ground turkey breast to make them more Tablespoon friendly. Granted, the grinding of the spices takes a few extra minutes, but once you finish this step, the rest is very fast. And, the roasting gives these a completely different flavor profile than the Turkey Kebabs I posted several weeks ago. The only thing missing when I made them at home was Raj and Aparna’s good company that we so enjoyed the first time around.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast or, for a moister kebab, substitute in 1/3 pound of dark turkey meat for the breast meat
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 to 4 green chillies chopped- small Thai or Indian green chillies (use more or less depending on your spice preference)
A handful of chopped cilantro

Instructions

You can use an oven or nonstick grill pan. If using oven, preheat it to 350 degrees.

Roast and grind poppy seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.

Bring the meat to room temperature and marinate with the spices, coriander and onions for at least 2 hours.

Divide the mixture into 12 to 14 small portions and form into patties, almost like a mini-burger size.

In oven, roast for 10-15 minutes or until cooked, making sure to turn over the patties halfway through the cooking. If using grill pan, warm it up over medium heat and lightly mist with cooking spray. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Be sure to turn over the patties halfway.

Serving Suggestions:

Tuck into a whole wheat pita and top with onion slivers, coriander or tamarind chutney, mango chutney or ketchup. For side dishes, any steamed or lightly sauteed vegetable will do, but if you want to keep with an Indian theme, try My Mother’s Gobi or the Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans. Or, serve these patties as an appetizer with toothpicks tucked in.

Poached Huevos Rancheros

Poached Huevos Rancheros low fat recipe

Poached Huevos Rancheros
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved

This is one of our favorite meals of all time. Seriously, Scott and I eat this a lot! It’s fantastic for breakfast, but makes an equally good lunch or dinner. The combination of eggs, whole grain corn and beans provides great fuel for the body which is also quite easy to digest. If you like Mexican flavors this is going to be a new favorite in your recipe collection. You’ll need 3 pans on the stove (or you can use a microwave for the beans), and a bit of coordination and timing to get everything on the plate, but the extra effort is all worth it when you take that first bite!    ~ Susan

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 can of black beans
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa – try Shivani’s roasted salsa recipe!
1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce
1/4 cup water
4 corn tortillas
1 heaping tablespoon shredded sharp cheddar – Cabot makes outstanding cheddars which are widely available, our favorite is the Racer’s Edge sharp cheddar – we love those Vermont cheeses!
sliced scallions for garnish

Instructions:

Fill a large non-stick skillet (or well seasoned cast iron skillet) with just enough water to poach the eggs (I like my yolks to stay bright yellow, so I poach in a shallow amount of water to keep the tops of the yolks from turning white). Turn on heat to get the water boiling.

Meanwhile, open the can of black beans, drain out a little bit of the liquid from the top. Add the cumin, salt & pepper directly into the can and stir well to combine. Put about 1 cup of black beans in a small pan (or microwave safe bowl) and heat just until hot. Set aside. Save the rest of bean mixture for another use.

Put the salsa, hot sauce and 1/4 cup water into a shallow wide saucepan, big enough to fit a corn tortilla without bending it. Stir the mixture together and turn on the heat. This is your “ranchero” sauce.

Crack 2 eggs at a time into a small dish and gently slide them into the poaching water. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs. Turn heat down to medium and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes, this will give you nicely poached eggs with slightly soft yolks.

While eggs cook, dip one corn tortilla into the warm salsa mixture, leave it in the sauce just for about 10 seconds, then use a wide spatula to transfer it to your plate. Repeat process with other tortillas, putting 2 tortillas on each plate, the second tortilla almost on top of the first one, but a little off center so they’re not completely stacked on on top of each other.

After you plate the sauced tortillas, you can put the heat up to high for a minute to “cook down” the sauce if you want it a little thicker. Divide the rest of the warm ranchero sauce over the tortillas. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from poaching water and place 2 eggs atop each of the 2 tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the eggs. Spoon the beans onto the plates next to the eggs and tortillas, top with plenty of sliced scallions and dig in!

Serving Suggestions:

Breakfast – this needs nothing else, it’s a perfect meal to start your day.

Lunch or dinner – add a big salad (try lettuce with shaved red cabbage and grated carrots) to complete the meal.

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Spice Coated Tilapia

Spice Coated Tilapia
Serves 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved
Vegetarian Substitutes

This recipe is all Mahir. I was getting ready to coat our tilapia with our usual fajita seasoning mix when he stopped me and said he wanted to come up with something. We had recently dined at an Italian restaurant where we ate the most delicious fennel crusted chicken, and we both were craving that fennel taste so he used that as a starting point. Since our cupboard is replete with Indian spices and fennel is also used in Indian cooking, his creation took a turn to our home cuisine. Mahir likes to cook healthy, but he’s not quite as diligent as me so I was surprised that he came up with a no oil dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as Mahir enjoyed coming up with it.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound of tilapia
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds (powder is okay if you don’t have seeds)
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 dried red chile or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
salt, to taste
1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
fresh squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Instructions:

Turn on your oven broiler.

Using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, blend the spices including salt until they are fine like powder.

Squeeze lemon juice on fish, and coat with spice mixture.

Place fish on foil lined cookie sheet or tray and broil until done (about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish).

Top with cilantro, if using, and squeeze with additional lemon juice.

Serving Suggestions:

To make this a complete Indian meal, try with Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans or with My Mother’s Gobi.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

This spice mixture would also taste great on sliced tofu or seitan. You can broil them, but they would also work grilled.

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