Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween “Eyeball” Taco Salad

What a fun and scary Halloween dinner – a quick and easy meal before the kids are ready to go out trick-or-treating! Have a Happy (& Healthy!) Halloween!

1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
low-sodium taco seasoning packet
tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
8 slices bell pepper
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
4 whole pitted black olives, halved

1. Cook ground meat over medium heat until no longer pink, drain fat. Stir in taco seasoning packet and water (follow directions on seasoning packet)
2. Place tortilla chips on a baking pan, sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese. Place meat mixture over top and sprinkle on remaining cheese. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
3. Portion out onto plates and top with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Top each serving with two slices bell pepper. Inside each bell pepper slice, top with a dollop of sour cream and an olive half to make the eyes.

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home


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Bittersweet Chocolate Skeleton Cookies

A spooky fun cookie to make for a Halloween party! “Healthified” by using some whole wheat flour and part canola oil instead of all butter. Also a great way to get the kids involved in baking – let them cut out the cookie shapes and design some cookies!

Cookie Ingredients: 
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

Icing Ingredients:
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp meringue powder
1 Tbsp low-fat milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions for Cookies:
1. Place sugar, butter, and oil in a large bowl and beat with a mixter until well blended. Stir in vanilla and egg and continue beating until well blended.
2. Mix together flours, cocoa, and salt in a bowl. Stir well. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat just until flour is incorporated.
3. Place half of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out into 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining dough. Place dough (still in plastic wrap) on a baking sheet and chill 45 minutes or until firm.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use gingerbread men cookie cutters (or whatever shape you like!) to form cookies. Bake at 375 degreed F for 9 minutes or until set. Cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Directions for Icing:
1. Combine water and meringue powder in a medium bowl, stir with a whisk until smooth. Add milk and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Add powdered sugar and stir until smooth.
2. Spoon icing into a zip top plastic bag. Snip a small whole in one bottom corner of the bag and pipe on skeleton designs onto cookies.

Cooking Light, October 2011

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Tuna Melt with Avocado

A delicious and budget friendly meal! Serve with some veggies and dip or a light salad. The avocado and tuna are both rich in heart healthy fats!

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp thinly sliced shallots
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 (6-oz) can solid white tuna in water, drained and flaked
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 avocado
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
4 slices French bread, toasted

1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Combine oil, shallots, mustard, pepper, salt, and tuna in a bowl; stir to combine.
3. Combine lemon juice and chopped avocado, toss well. Add avocado mixture and tomatoes to tuna mixture combining well.
4. Sprinkle cheese evenly over cut sides of bread, broil for 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Divide tuna mixture evenly among bread slices.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving: 455 calories, 19.7 g fat, 3.9 g saturated fat, 20.1 g protein, 49.7 g carbohydrate, 5.3 g fiber, 26 mg cholesterol

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Healthy Foods Under $1

Eating healthy doesn’t have to break your budget. Many healthy items are usually low in price, but you can also look for fresh foods that are on sale or in season (in season produce tends to be less expensive). Also, look for store brand items – usually the same item packaged in a different box – you don’t have to pay for the marketing. Use coupons, buy in bulk, and plan ahead to save additional money. If buying in bulk, you can freeze many types of fruits/vegetables to be used later.

Here is a brief list of healthy items found at the grocery store that tend to be less than 1 dollar:
– Bananas
– Rice (even brown rice)
– Oatmeal
– Carrots
– Kale
– Popcorn
– Dried beans
– Lentils
– Canned Tuna
– Oranges

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Chiles Rellenos Casserole

This delicious and comforting casserole is a sure fire hit at any family dinner. Serve with a fruit or vegetable salad for a complete meal. 

2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
1 cup chopped onion
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) can vegetarian refried beans
1 (4-ounce) cans whole green chiles, drained and cut lengthwise into quarters
Cooking spray
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed and drained
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add chicken and onion, cook 6 or until chicken is done, stirring to crumble.
2. Combine chicken mixture, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and refried beans in a bowl.
3. Arrange half of green chile strips on the bottom of a 11 x 7 inch casserole baking dish coated with cooking spray, top with half of cheese. Spoon mounds of chicken/bean mixture onto cheese, and spread gently (leave a 1/4 inch border around edge of dish). Top with corn. Arrange remaining chile strips over corn and top with remaining cheese.
4. Combine flour and salt in a bowl, gradually add milk and hot sauce. Stir with a whisk until blended. Stir in eggs and egg whites. Pour milk mixture over chile strips. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until set. Let stand 5 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving: 344 calories, 13.8 g total fat, 5.5 g saturated fat, 23.3 g protein, 31.6 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 107 mg cholesterol

Cooking Light, January 1995 (updated for November 2012 issue)

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Combat Your Cravings!

It is unknown what causes cravings, it could be a combination of a physiological need for a nutrient and a psychological desire. A great example from when children are sick, a bowl of Mom’s chicken noodle soup makes them feel better by relieving congestion and through other health benefits. When the children grow up and fall ill, the children crave chicken noodle soup to not only help them feel better but because it brings back fond memories of being cared for by Mom.
But, food cravings can also become overwhelming and may lead to overindulgence and negative feelings such as guilt. When people follow very restrictive diets, such as one that cuts out whole food groups, cravings can become more intense and may lead to a repetitive cycle of indulging, overeating, and guilt or remorse. A healthier diet is one that allows small amounts of all foods. It is easier to maintain because you are not eliminating your favorite foods – you are instead using portion control and moderation.

If food cravings come about, here are some tips for handling them:
– Wait 20 minutes before indulging in your craving. The wait may cause the desire to wane or you may find a healthier alternative during the wait
– Buy the healthier versions of the foods you crave: look for dark chocolate, low-fat ice cream, baked chips, etc
– Use portion control: When you buy food or make food, separate your items into single portion bags. You could also buy pre-portioned items. Limit yourself to a single serving.
– Schedule snacks: plan for snacks throughout the day to prevent between-meal hunger. Look for nutritious options to stay on track
– Find something non-food related to do: start a craft project, take a walk, or call a friend. Busy hands or a busy mind may keep the cravings at bay.
– Keep a food journal. You may start to notice trends in the time or reason why you are indulging in a craving – you can then make healthy steps to change the habit!

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“Healthified” Fettuccine Alfredo

Normal fettuccine is loaded with fat and calories from heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and butter. This “healthified” recipe uses olive oil instead of butter and a thickened milk-based sauce instead of heavy cream. These substitutions leave room for plenty of delicious Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Add in some lightly steamed broccoli for additional nutrition and color.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
1 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 Tbsp reduced fat cream cheese (1/3 the fat)
pinch of salt
4 cups hot cooked fettuccine
2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
cracked black pepper

1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add garlic, cook one minute, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in flour to garlic oil in saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.
3. Add 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese, and salt. Stir with a whisk until cheeses melt.
4. Toss sauce with hot pasta. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley. Garnish with cracked black pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (about 1 cup)

Nutrition Information per Serving: 412 calories, 13.8 g total fat, 6.6 g saturated fat, 22.1 g protein, 49.9 g carbohydrate, 1.9 g fiber, 32 mg cholesterol, 500 mg calcium

Cooking Light, May 1994

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