Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grilled Marinated Chicken Thighs with Grilled Sweet Potato and Sauteed Peppers and Onions

Another great summertime grilling recipe. Serve this with a salad for a complete, colorful meal!

serves 8 ( 10 points +)

  • 3 T. Lawry's teriyaki marinade with pineapple
  • 1-1/2 T. honey
  • 1-1/2 T. fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. five spice powder
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 8, bone-in, skinned chicken thighs
  • 3 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers ( color of your choosing)
  • 1/4 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • salt and pepper

Combine the first five ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add 1 T. olive oil. Add chicken, seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slice sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds. Boil sweet potatoes for about 10-15 minutes or until nearly done. Drain sweet potatoes. Place in a large bowl and toss with 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove chicken from marinade, Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for about 6-7 minutes per side or until no longer pink. Grill sweet potatoes for about 2 minutes per side or until tender.  Place chicken and sweet potatoes on a large serving platter.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Add 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil. Add peppers and onions. Cook until beginning to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and cook until peppers and onions are softened and broth is almost evaporated. Serve with chicken and sweet potatoes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Gorgonzola and Parsley

This was a perfect appetizer for the Italian-themed dinner I planned for my mom's birthday. It was easy to make and full of delicious flavor. Try it and let me know how you like it!

Makes 12 ( 2 points +)

  • 6 plum tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise and seeded.
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 T. plain, dried breadcrumbs
  • 6 T. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 T. chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place seeded tomatoes, cut side down on paper towels to drain for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 T. olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place tomatoes in the bowl and using hands, carefully coat tomatoes in this marinade. Let stand in the marinade for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, combine bread crumbs and gorgonzola.

Place marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle with remaining 1 T. olive oil. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly softened and undersides browned. 

Arrange tomatoes on a platter and sprinkle with parsley.

adapted from the cookbook: "Giada at Home"

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Arugula Salad with Nectarines, Walnuts, Bacon and Gorgonzola

The sweet and savory flavor combinations of this salad make it delicious. The warm bacon vinaigrette puts it over the top!

serves 8 ( 2 points +)

  • 5 oz. arugula lettuce
  • 2 medium nectarines, sliced
  • 4 slices Oscar Mayer fully cooked bacon
  • 2 T. chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 c. gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place arugula on a large platter. Top with nectarines and sprinkle with walnuts and gorgonzola.

In a frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. Crumble bacon over salad.

Scrape any bacon grease from pan ( there will be little) into a small bowl. Let cool slightly. Add olive oil, vinegar, honey salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over salad.

Grilled Tuscan Sirloin and Potatoes with Lemon

Oh the fresh flavors of Italian cooking! This recipe is perfect for summertime grilling. This recipe made enough for 8 people and believe me, there was not a scrap left! The steak is marinated for several hours, so leave enough time in your day for preparation!

Serves 8 ( 8 points +)

  • 2 lbs. sirloin steak
  • 4 T. olive oil, divided
  • 2 T. crushed garlic
  • 2 T. lemon rind, grated
  • 8-10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 lemons
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs. medium-sized red potatoes

Place 2 T. olive oil, garlic and lemon rind in a large gallon sized ziplock bag. Add steak and make sure that marinade covers both sides of steaks. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Remove steak from marinade, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, place potatoes in a pot of water, bring to a boil for about 15 minutes or until somewhat tender, but not too tender. Remove from water. Cool enough to handle and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. 

Place potatoes in a bowl and toss with 2 T. olive oil.

Slice lemons into 8 slices.

Grill steaks to desired doneness. Remove and let stand 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.
Carefully place potatoes on grill rack and grill for a couple minutes per side or until done. Remove and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill lemons for about 2 minutes per side. Serve steak with potatoes and lemon slices.

Blueberry Crisp

I love using produce that is in season! This blueberry crisp was gone in the blink of an eye! I hope you like it! I suggest serving warm with a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice-cream. Yum!

serves 9 ( 4 points+)

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon


  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. light stick butter, cubed
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine blueberries, sugar, 3 T. flour and cinnamon. Transfer to a 9 inch square baking dish coated with nonstick spray.
In another bowl, combine first 5 topping ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle topping over blueberry mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and topping is browned.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Caprese Burgers

Ahh! The fresh taste of summer...burgers on the grill with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden! This Italian-inspired burger will leave you with fond memories of warm, summer evenings!

serves 6 ( 9 points +)

  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
  • salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder to taste
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 6 low-calorie buns ( 2 points +)

Combine sirloin with spices and form into 6 patties. Grill until desired doneness. Add cheese and cook until melted.  Place burger on bottom half of bun. Top with tomato and basil.

Basil-Parsley Chicken

This basil-parsley chicken over farfalle and topped with zucchini, balsamic glaze and Parmesan cheese is light, fresh-tasting and delicious! This meal is complete with just a green salad. Our family loved it!

serves 6 ( 11 points +)

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 c. chopped, fresh basil
  • 1/4 c. chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced thinly into 1/8 inch slices
  • 12 oz. uncooked farfalle noodles ( bow ties)
  • 6 tsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Balsamic Glaze:

  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add farfalle pasta and cook until done ( al dente); drain. Toss with 1 T. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, whisk together balsamic glaze ingredients and set aside.

Place chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add chicken to pan and cook until no longer pink, turning halfway through. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Drain any liquid in pan.

Spray pan with nonstick spray. Add zucchini and cook until crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Place equal amounts of pasta on each of six dishes ( about 1 c. ). Top with chicken, then zucchini. Drizzle each with about 1/2 T. balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, basil and parsley.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Watermelon- Cucumber Salad with Feta and Mint

Did you know that watermelon is loaded with iron? What a delicious way to make sure that your iron levels remain high so that you have tons of energy for fun summer activities!
This salad is refreshing and full of flavor. I used an orange infused olive oil, but feel free to use a plain olive oil as well. Have fun experimenting with different oil or vinegar flavors!

serves 8 ( 4 points +)


  • 8 c. cubed, seedless watermelon
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 c. sliced green onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped, fresh mint
  • 1/2 c. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled


  • 1/4 c. orange infused olive oil ( or plain)
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad. Toss to coat. Chill until serving.

Pork with Potatoes and Peppers

This was a quick meal made in one pan on the stove top. It was perfect for a warm, summer evening. I served this with a refreshing watermelon, cucumber, feta salad.

serves 8 (9 points +)

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 T. chopped, fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 8 ( 6 oz) boneless pork chops, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 various colored bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 lbs. red potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 c. fat-free chicken broth

In a large bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar and next 3 ingredients ( through garlic). Add pork and turn to coat. Let stand 15 minutes. Reserve marinade.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Remove pork from marinade with a slotted spoon. Cook until browned ( about 4 minutes), stirring often.
Remove pork from pan and drain any liquid.

Spray pan again with nonstick spray. Add reserved marinade. Add peppers and potatoes. Cook stirring often, until potatoes begin to soften ( about 5 minutes). Add 1/2 c. chicken broth, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes). Return pork to pan and heat through.
Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Steak Braciole Roll

Braciole is a flank steak stuffed and rolled. In this case, it is stuffed with prosciutto, provolone and parmesan cheese! This dish is easy to make, but looks and tastes gourmet! This steak would go perfectly with a green salad, a small side of pasta or some potatoes.

serves 6 ( 8 points +)

  • 1-1/2 lbs. flank steak
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 6 slices Sargento reduced fat provolone cheese
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 T. chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To cut open steak, place in front of you with the grain of the meat running vertically. Using a sharp knife, Start at a long end and make an incision into the center of the steak. Keep cutting until you are about 1/4 inch from the opposite side. Open steak and lay flat.

Top meat with prosciutto, then Provolone, then Parmesan. Roll up, jelly-roll fashion and secure with toothpicks or tie about every 2 inches with kitchen twine.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Add oil to the pan. Add steak to the pan and sear well on one side ( about 8 -10 minutes). Turn steak over. Immediately place the pan in the oven and cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until desired doneness.

Let stand 5 minutes before removing toothpicks and slicing.

Panko Crusted Chicken WIth Corn and Red Pepper Hash And Buttermilk Dressing


serves 4 ( about 3/4 c. corn hash and 1 chicken breast = 10 points +)

  • 1-1/4 c. low-fat buttermilk, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves ( 4 oz. each)
  • 2 c. frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 T. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. pank Japanese bread crumbs
  • salt
  • 4 Oscar Mayer fully cooked bacon strips
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 bottled, roasted red bell peppers, chopped

Combine 1 c. buttermilk, 1/4 tsp. paprika and 1/8 tsp. cayenne in a large ziplock bag. Add chicken to bag, seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Combine remaining 1/4 c. buttermilk, lemon juice and parsley. Set aside.

Combine remaining 1/4 tsp. paprika, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper and Panko in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from marinade. Sprinkle chicken with salt and coat in panko mixture. ( discard marinade)

Place bacon in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet. Cook until crisp. Remove. Add oil to pan.
Add chicken to pan and cook 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and done.

In a medium cast iron or nonstick skillet, cook corn until starting to brown. Place in a medium bowl. add bacon, green onions, roasted red pepper and salt to taste.

Divide corn mixture evenly among four plates. Top with chicken and drizzle with 1 T. buttermilk dressing.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Pecan Dainties

This little gem of a cookie will also be made for my niece's wedding. This recipe is definitely a keeper. It is another one that comes from my friend, Beverly. You will want to make it again and again!

Makes about 40 cookies ( 1 cookie = 2 points +)


  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour


  • 2 T. butter
  • 1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. hot water
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, Add sugar and salt, mix well. Add flour and blend well. Shape into 2 rolls, 1-1/2 inches in diapeter. Refrigerate several hours. Cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick ( you may get more than 20 slices per roll)
Bake on ungreased cookies sheets for about 15 minutes or until just lightly browned. Cool completely.

For frosting, brown butter in a saucepan, remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and hot water, stir until smooth. Add enough milk to make a spreading consistency. Frost cookies and sprinkle with nuts.
( you need to work quickly with this frosting, because it will thicken. You may need to add a tiny bit more hot water or milk at a time to get it back to spreading consistency)

Lemon Melt-Aways

Baking is like cheap therapy for me. There is something about it that is so relaxing and brings that happy feeling! My niece's wedding is this weekend and that gave me an opportunity to bake in bulk! I am making 5 different delights for her sweets table. This cookie, the lemon melt-away, is light and melt in your mouth delicious. The recipe comes from my friend, Beverly. I think they would be splendid for any party, even a Christmas cookie tray!

Makes 40 ( 1 cookie = 2 points +)


  • 1-1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel


  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel

In a large mixing bowl, combine all cookie ingredients. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl, often until well mixed. 

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into an 8 x 1 inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm ( 1-2 hours)

Heat oven to 350. With a sharp knife, cut each roll into about 20 slices ( about 1/4 " thick... you may get more than 20 slices per roll. )
Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake 8-12 minutes or until set. ( Cookies will not brown) Cool completely.

For frosting, in a small mixing bowl, combine all frosting ingredients, Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until fluffy. Frost cooled cookies.

Monday, July 8, 2013

California Burger

Visited with some old friends yesterday who now live in California. This burger was made in remembrance of them.

serves 8 ( 8 points +)

  • 2 lbs. lean ground sirloin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 c. avocado
  • 1/4 c. diced, seeded tomato,
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 c. chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 c. alfalfa sprouts
  • tomato slices
  • 8 reduced fat buns ( 2 points each)

Season sirloin with salt and pepper. Form into 8 patties. Heat a grill to medium- high heat, Cook burgers 4 minutes per side or until desired doneness.

Meanwhile, mash avocado and combine with the next six ingredients ( through cilantro)

Place about 1/4 c. alfalfa sprouts on the bottom half of a bun. top with burger, then guacamole, then a tomato slice and the top half of the bun.

Beef Tenderloin with a Cherry Red Wine Sauce

Here is another dish ( one among many) that I tried out for our fourth of July celebration this year. Cherries are in season right now and the color made this dish very festive. It was full of flavor and was enjoyed by all. I think this would be great for any holiday meal.

serves 12 ( 6 points +)

  • 3-1/4 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 2 c. cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1-1/2 c. red wine
  • 2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Cut beef into thirds. Heat oil in a large cast iron or oven-proof skillet. Sear on one side. Turn beef and place pan in an oven heated to 425. Cook until meat registers 135 degrees for medium rare. ( about 30-40 minutes). Remove beef from pan and let stand 10 minutes. Slice thinly.

Meanwhile, heat the skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Add cherries and cook 1 minute. Add red wine and cook until mixture begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in butter. Serve cherry sauce with beef.

Roasted Potato Salad with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

This potato salad was a huge hit when I served it on the 4th of July! I did triple the recipe for the amount of people I was serving. This salad is great served warm.

serves 8 ( 4 points +)

  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • 3 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 T. white wine vinegar
  • 2 T. minced red onion
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes on a large baking sheet and combine with 1-1/2 T. oil, garlic and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake 30-40 minutes or until browned and tender, stirring once after 20 minutes.

Combine remaining 1-1/2 T. oil, salt and pepper to taste, Dijon, vinegar and onion. Pour over potatoes and toss to coat.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Cheesy Chicken, Tomato and Artichoke Bake

Perfect with a side of pasta or a nice salad.

serves 8 ( 6 points +)

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves ( 4 oz. each)
  • 1 can  ( 13.75 oz) artichoke hearts ( not packed in oil), drained
  • 6-7 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T. crushed garlic
  • 2 c. shredded, part-skim mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375
Combine artichoke hearts, tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and flour. Spread in the bottom of a 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Top with chicken seasoned with salt and pepper.
Bake until chicken is nearly done ( about 25 minutes). Top with cheese and place under a broiler for a few minutes ( watch carefully so as not to burn). Otherwise place back in the oven until cheese melts.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Honey Lime Chicken Skewers

Perfect for a light lunch or  as an appetizer for a party!

serves 8 ( 2 skewers = 4 points +)

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 64 cubes
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
  • wooden skewers

Combine honey, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a large resealable baggie. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Thread 4 chicken cubes onto each skewer. Grill until chicken is no longer pink. Top with chopped cilantro.

Bourbon Barbecue Burger

July is the perfect month for grilling out and what better to grill than the all-American burger?

serves 6 ( 9 points +)

  • 6 fully cooked bacon slices ( such as Oscar Mayer)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 T. bourbon, divided
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
  • 6 slices tomato
  • 6 reduced fat buns ( 2 points each)

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove from pan. Add oil and onion to pan. Cook until onion is browned and very tender. Add 2 T. bourbon, vinegar and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook until liquid almost evaporates. Remove mixture from pan and cool 5 minutes.

Combine remaining 2 T. bourbon, ketchup and next 7 ingredients ( through onion powder) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Coarsely chop 1/2 c. onion mixture and stir into beef. Divide beef into 6 equal portions, shaping into a patty. Sprinkle patties with salt. Cook 4 minutes per side or until done.
Spread each top and bottom of bun with 1 T. sauce. Place patties on bottom halves, top with 1 tomato slice and remaining onion mixture. Top each serving with 1 bacon slice and top half of bun.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Flour-less Cinnamon Banana Pancakes

Easy and a nice treat for one!

serves 1 ( 5 points +)

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. sugar-free maple syrup

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, banana and cinnamon until smooth.
Heat a nonstick griddle over medium high heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Spoon batter by 1/4 cup onto hot griddle. Cook until top looks a little dry. Flip and cook other side. Serve with syrup if desired.


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