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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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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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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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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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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Golden Chicken Indian Curry

Golden Chicken Indian Curry Low Fat Recipe

Golden Chicken Indian Curry
Serves 3
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen
Vegetarian Substitutes

Here’s another Indian-inspired recipe from our home kitchen. Every time we have this for dinner we find ourselves commenting on just how delicious it is. The sauce is rich and flavorful without using a lot of butter or cream, the trick is thickening it with a bit of cornstarch! I use boneless skinless chicken thighs – we like the richer flavor of the dark meat with this ensemble of spices and sauce, but I’ve also made it for clients with all white meat and it receives glowing reviews. We love the slightly pungent flavor of the green peppers mixed with the hint of sweet spice, but if you’re not a fan of green peppers, you can use sweet bell peppers in their place.      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs – trimmed of all excess fat
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
1 medium yellow onion – quartered and thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper – quartered and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
a scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to your own taste)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon water mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch
sliced or chopped fresh tomatoes for garnish
sliced scallions or chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

Cut the trimmed chicken thighs into bite size pieces.

Heat the butter in a nonstick skillet (or a well-seasoned cast iron pan). Add onions and sauté on medium heat until lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes).

Add chicken and sauté another 5-7 minutes.

Add green pepper, spices, salt and 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine everything, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until pepper is soft and tender.

Add the 1 tablespoon of water mixed with the teaspoon of cornstarch and stir until sauce thickens.

It’s ready! Taste and adjust any spices to your liking, add something hot if you like such as cayenne pepper or hot chile flakes, and plate it up!

Serving Suggestions:

Our classic pairing is with some brown basmati rice and a big salad, but it’s also really good with chapati, or even mashed potatoes!

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Firm cubed tofu or sliced seitan are both really good in place of the chicken, just omit the sautéing step and add either of these along with the spices and water.

Shrimp & Broccoli Lo Mein

shrimp and broccoli lo mein lowfat recipe

Shrimp & Broccoli Lo Mein
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers
Vegetarian Substitutes

Sometimes you just want noodles, and nothing else will do. I’ve been in carbohydrate mode during this pregnancy — apparently it takes a lot of extra carbs to grow a baby! That’s okay, any good reason to eat more carbs is fine by me… This dish is a perfect quick meal, easy enough for any night of the week and impressive enough for dinner guests or special occasions. It’s another one of those recipes where you can make endless combinations: using different vegetables, substituting tofu or chicken for the shrimp, adding hot sauce or fresh chiles to spice it up. Have fun using your own creative ideas to make this dish your own.       ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb pre-cooked peeled & deveined shrimp
2-3 cups cooked & drained whole grain noodles: udon, angel hair, linguini, etc…  (or, use rice noodles to keep it wheat-free)
1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cups fresh broccoli florettes
1 cup sliced carrots – slice in half the long way, then into diagonal slices
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
tamari soy sauce to taste – we use San J wheat-free tamari
1/3 cup sliced scallions – slice them on a strong diagonal for a great presentation
optional – hot sauce to taste

Instructions:

Heat the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet (or well seasoned cast iron skillet) on medium heat. Leave the oil in a little pool as opposed to spreading it in the pan.

Add the garlic and ginger to the oil, spread it out just enough to let everything cook evenly over the heat, and let it all sizzle for a few seconds without actually browning.

Add the sherry and the mushrooms, and let it all simmer for about 30 seconds.

Add the cornstarch/water mix, and about 2 tablespoons of tamari soy sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula over the medium heat until it begins to thicken.

Add broccoli, carrots and shrimp and stir it all together for about a minute – just until broccoli is bright green and shrimp is heated throughout.

If sauce gets too thick just add a little more water and stir it in.

Add noodles and toasted sesame oil. Toss everything together using two spatulas or wooden spoons to evenly coat the noodles with the sauce. Add more tamari to taste if you like.

To serve – divide mixture equally onto two plates, and scatter the scallions over the noodles.

Serving Suggestions:

Put hot sauce on the table for each person to spice it up as they like. I like this dish best with a good dose of Frank’s Red Hot on top – it adds a zesty tanginess as well as a kick!

Not in the mood for noodles? Try using cooked brown rice in their place.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Tofu, edamame or seitan is perfect in place of the shrimp.

Tilapia with Leeks, Garlic, Capers, Tomatoes & Basil

tilapia with leeks, garlic, capers, tomatoes and fresh basil low fat recipe

Tilapia with Leeks, Garlic, Capers, Tomatoes & Basil
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved
Vegetarian Substitutes

This leek and tomato mixture is something I’ve been making for over 20 years. My mom found the original recipe in a magazine, which called for a similar mixture tossed together with linguini, and passed it on to me during my vegan years. It was a big hit. Today, we still enjoy the pasta version now and then, made with whole grain noodles, but this sauté is also fantastic with fish or seafood. It’s one of those dishes which will impress guests while keeping your job in the kitchen nice and simple. It takes only minutes to prepare, and the result is a beautiful plate which also happens to be amazingly delicious!     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

2 large or 4 small fillets of fresh tilapia
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sized leek – washed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 large cloves garlic – minced
2 roma tomatoes – cut into large dice
1 tablespoon capers – drained
2 large leaves fresh basil – torn into small pieces
optional – 10 whole kalamata olives
optional – hot chile flakes to your liking

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Season the tilapia with a sprinkle of sea salt and plenty of ground black pepper and bake for about 10 minutes, our until fish is done (easily flakes apart with a fork).

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet, allowing the oil to remain in a pool as opposed to spreading it out all over the pan. Add the leeks, gently placing each slice into the pool of oil. Let leeks cook over medium high for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown nicely. Add the garlic to the oil and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Now add the chopped tomatoes and capers and gently stir to combine.

Turn off heat.

Add your optional olives and hot chile flakes now too, if you like.

The less you stir it, the better the leeks will hold their shape – which is the goal for a nice presentation of the final dish.

Add the torn basil just before serving, and spoon mixture over the tilapia on the serving plates.

Serving Suggestions:

Fantastic with any whole grain on the side.

For a real gourmet presentation – plate the fish and leek mixture atop a nest of whole grain cappellini.

Or, try serving this dish with a side of quick-cooking polenta with just a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese stirred in while you cook it.

Vegetarian Options:

Pan sear tofu slices which have been lightly seasoned with black pepper and serve this saute artfully spooned on top. Elegant and beautiful!

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