Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Bananas are either eaten quickly in our house or they are left to sit and become over-ripe. This week, I had some over-ripe bananas and decided to look for a new recipe. I came across this  this double chocolate banana bread , which I have adapted to make a bit more points friendly. I plan to bring it to a book discussion group that I attend. Since some of the ladies are trying to eat very little sugar, I decided to try this recipe using Xylitol, which is a natural sweetener and is very low-calorie. You can use regular sugar and just add 1 point per serving. They key with breads and muffins is not to over mix or over bake. I like to cut breads into 16 pieces by cutting in 8 pieces on the long side of the bread and then cutting those pieces in half. This makes for a thicker, although smaller, slice. Enjoy!

Serves 16 ( 4 points + or if using sugar 5 points +)

  • 1 c. Xylitol ( or sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Beat Xylitol ( sugar), eggs, and oil to combine. Beat in bananas and vanilla.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Stir until just combined. Spoon into loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until top is cracked and bread springs back when you lightly touch the top. I like to check my bread at least 5 minutes early to make sure I am not overbaking.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Squash, Bacon, and Mozzarella Quiche

Summer squash is ripening in the garden, so I thought I would put it to use in this recipe!

Serves 8 ( 7 points +)


  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 T. chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 T. shortening
  • 1/4 c. ice water


  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. sliced yellow squash
  • 2 c. sliced zucchini
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1T. fresh thyme
  • 1c. 2% milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c. shredded, part-skim mozzarella

For crust, combine flour 1/2 tsp. salt, butter and shortening in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add water through food chute, processing just until the mixture is combined. Press into a 4 inch circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400.
Place dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Roll into a 12 inch circle. Press into a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate and flute edges. Pierce bottom and sides of dough with a fork. Bake 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 350.

For filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, onions and thyme. Saute for 5 minutes or until squash and zucchini are tender. Cool slightly.

Combine 1 c. milk and next five ingredients ( through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Arrange squash mixture over crust and sprinkle with mozzarella. Pour egg mixture over cheese. Bake 45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool 15 minutes before slicing. 

"Cooking Light"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lemony Orzo- Veggie Salad with Chicken


Serves 4 ( about 1-1/4 c. = 7 points +)

  • 3/4 c. uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/4 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 3 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 c. diced English cucumber
  • 1/2 c. chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1/3 c. sliced green onions
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese

Cook orzo; drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl.

While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients ( through pepper), stirring with a whisk. Drizzle juice mixture over orzo; toss to coat.
Add chicken and next 4 ingredients ( through dill), toss to combine. Sprinkle with goat cheese.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Cherry Crisp

Another great recipe from "Cooking Light" using in- season produce!

Serves 8 ( 9 points +)


  • 6 c. halved and pitted sweet cherries
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt


  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 6 T. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 c. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 and spray an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

For filling, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, juice, almond extract in a large bowl; toss gently. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

For topping, combine, flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in chilled butter until mixture looks like coarse meal ( I used my fingers for this), Stir in sliced almond. Sprinkle oat mixture over cherry mixture. Bake 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is crisp. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Honey Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

My niece recently returned from Spain and brought me a jar of the most delicious honey. I knew I wanted to try them out for this recipe! This recipe is a variation of the "Tuscan Lemon Muffins" on my blog. They are the ultimate summery muffin! The ricotta makes these muffins light and airy and full of flavor. I hope you like them. The adapted recipe came from a site called " Table forTwo ".

Makes 12 muffins ( 5 points +)

  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. part-skim ricotta
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 2 T. honey, melted

Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix together, ricotta, water, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon. Add chia seeds and gently fold into batter.

Divide batter evenly into muffin tins. Bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes then brush with melted honey. Cool completely.

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

This recipe comes from a site called "Whats gaby cooking". They were delicious.

Serves 6 ( about 2/3 c. potatoes = 4 points +)

  • 4 c. cubed yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 4 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place potatoes on a baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Add olive oil and spices. Using your fingers, toss to coat.
Bake for 20 minutes, turn and cook an additional 10-20 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Pancetta- Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Cantaloupe- Red Pepper Salsa

Yummy and easy to make on the grill!

Serves 4 ( 3-1/2 oz. pork and 1/3 c. salsa = 4 points +)

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta ( Italian bacon)

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Pat pork dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
Wrap pork in pancetta, with slices slightly overlapping,

Place pork on grill coated with cooking spray; grill 18 minutes or until thermometer reads 145 degrees, turning occasionally to brown on all sides. Let pork stand 10 minutes before slicing.


  • 1 c. finely chopped cantaloupe
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 3 T. chopped, fresh mint
  • 1 T. chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour.

from "Cooking Light"

Deep Dish Strawberry Frozen Pie

A great summertime dessert!

Serves 10 ( 7 points +)

  • 30 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 5 tsp. butter, melted
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • dash of salt
  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1/4 c. strawberry jam, divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 c. fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 c. Cool Whip Free

Preheat oven to 350. 

Finely grind wafers in a food processor, Add butter, egg white and salt; process until well combined. 
Gently press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9.5 inch deep dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Freeze 30 minutes or until well chilled.

Slice 1 c. strawberries; place in a large bowl. Add 1 T. strawberry jam and lemon juice; stir in sweetened condensed milk. Gently fold in Cool Whip. 
Spoon mixture into crust. Freeze 4 hours or overnight.
Quarter remaining berries. Combine with remaining 3 T. jam. Arrange mixture over pie and serve immediately.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have tried many a sweet and sour chicken recipe in my lifetime. This one has topped them all! I saw the original recipe on a site called "carlsbadcravings.com" and I have adapted it slightly to make it just a little more points friendly. Never-the-less, it is still fairly high in points and should be saved for a real treat.

serves 8 ( 1/2 c. cooked rice + 1/8 chicken mixture = 13 points +)


  • 1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 T. water
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 T. coconut oil or oil of your choosing

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • 1/2 c. pineapple juice ( from a 20 oz. can of pineapple tidbits)
  • 1 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar
  • 6 T. ketchup
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. crushed ginger

Vegetables/ Pineapple

  • 1 ( 20 oz) can pineapple tidbits ( drain and use juice in sauce)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 c. very thinly sliced carrots

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add sweet and sour sauce ingredients to a medium or large pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat 1 egg and add 1 T. water. Place flour in a gallon sized ziplock bag. In another gallon sized bag, combine cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and ground ginger.

Dip chicken pieces in egg and then place in bag with flour. Shake to coat. Remove chicken from bag and place in bag with cornstarch mixture. Shake to thoroughly coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes per side or until just browned, but not cooked through. Transfer chicken to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with nonstick spray.

Add the vegetables and pineapple to the sweet and sour sauce. Stir. Pour over chicken and stir to combine.

Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Stir occasionally. Serve over rice. 

Farro, Cherry, and Pecan Salad

I made this hearty, healthy salad for the 4th of July. I really enjoyed it! If you cannot find farro at your grocery store, you can substitute wheat berries or barley. Cook according to package directions.

serves 8 ( 2/3 c. = 6 points +)

  • 5 c .water
  • 1-1/2 c. uncooked farro
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 c. cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1 c. sliced celery
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 c. fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 T. olive oil

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add farro and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook 15 minutes or until al dente; drain and cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Combine farro, cherries, celery, pecans, and parsley in a large bowl.
Combine lemon juice, mustard, honey, pepper, remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and olive oil in another bowl. Pour over farro mixture and toss to coat.

adapted from "Cooking Light"


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