Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Piccata with Whole Grain Penne Pasta

Chicken is a staple that can be made into a spectacular healthy dish. This recipe has some flavourful ingredients, like onion, garlic, capers and white wine of your choice. Also, the whole grain penne pasta is an excellent source of fiber. It has a great taste and it complements the chicken mixture. This recipe makes 4 servings.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 pound whole grain penne pasta, cooked to al dente


Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with thyme, salt and pepper. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon olive oil, onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the skillet. Saute for 4 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid 1 minute. Whisk lemon juice and stock into sauce. Stir in capers and parsley. When the liquid comes to a bubble, add chicken back to the pan and  reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Greek Style Shrimp Scampi with Pasta and Asparagus

Here is another quick one dish meal that can be prepared any night of the week. It has some great flavors to add to the taste of the shrimp, like kalamata olives, white wine, and  feta cheese. Just remember to prep your ingredients before hand and while the pasta  and asparagus is cooking, you can quickly put together the shrimp mixture. This recipe can make 4 servings.


1/2 pound spaghetti
sea salt
1 pound medium to large shrimp deveined and peeled, tails removed
black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
couple pinches red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Handful pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup white wine, (or chicken broth)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1 ladle of starchy pasta cooking water


Place a large pot of water on stove to boil. Salt water and cook pasta per directions on box and the last 6 minutes add the asparagus.

While the pasta water comes to a boil, heat olive oil in a deep skillet with garlic about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and season with black pepper cook about 4 minutes.

Add red pepper flakes, lemon juice, oregano, olives, wine, and parsley and cook together about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add a ladle of starchy pasta cooking water to shrimp sauce and stir to combine. Drain the pasta and asparagus and add to skillet. Let pasta and asparagus soak in the juices for a minute then toss with the feta cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie With A Crunchy Brown Rice Topper

I am always looking for a one-dish meal for dinner with a side salad and this chicken pot pie recipe sounded like a quick and easy meal to put together. It is also heart healthy by using brown rice for the topping instead of the traditional pie crust. It has lots of vegetables and chicken and whole wheat flour is used to thicken the sauce. This dish has a great flavor and it is very filling. It is a nice change for a middle of the week supper to get you through to the weekend. Adapted from Whole Foods.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables


Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high heat. Add chicken, 1 teaspoon of thyme, poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until no longer pink about 5 minutes. Add the other tablespoon of oil, celery and onion and cook until just tender about 6 minutes. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add broth and stir to get brown pieces off bottom of pan and then add milk. Stir well and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine rice, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and paprika.
Stir mixed vegetables into the chicken mixture then season with salt and pepper and transfer to pie dish.

Scatter the rice mixture evenly over the top then arrange the dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until bubbly and the crust is crisp about 30 minutes. Enjoy! We did!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sugar-Free Banana Walnut Muffins

This muffin is made with real ripe bananas which gives it plenty of sweetness and by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and some raisins, you really don't need any sugar. But if you do have a sweet tooth, you could add 1/4 cup of your favorite sweetener, such as white or brown sugar, or palm sugar. This is a very quick muffin recipe to put together and it is loaded with healthy ingredients like whole wheat pastry flour, ground flax seed and heart healthy walnuts. Adapted from Spoonful of Sugar-Free


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup milk substitute (I used almond milk, but soy, rice, cow's is ok)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or canola, vegetable, coconut) (fat-free version use unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with 8 liners.
In a medium bowl, blend together the flour, flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and raisins. In a large bowl, with a wire whisk, mix bananas, milk, oil or applesauce, and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. With an ice cream scoop fill each muffin liner to the rim. Bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Healthy Chocolate Cake with Cashew Ganache

In this recipe, I am using my free products from Swanson Health. Swanson is a family owned business since 1969. It has a wide variety of products from organic foods to natural beauty products. They have the lowest prices on the Internet and there customer service is the best. You can return products up to 1 year later, no questions asked. The products are worth trying, check it out!
 Are you interested in getting some free Swanson Health Products goodies to review on your own blog? Then check out the Swanson Health Blog for all the details.                                                                    
I decided to make a luscious chocolate cake with ganache with my free products from Swanson Health. Though the ganache is so creamy and silky rich, I might just eat it and ignore the cake!
In the cake batter, I used the whole wheat pastry flour, which provides a finer texture, lower gluten and fiber. This flour is by Bob Red Mill and is 100% whole wheat and it is freshly milled and it contains all the wheat berry's healthy and natural elements. The palm sugar is high in nutrients and it doesn't spike your blood sugar. This palm sugar is organic by Sweet Tree and it is derived from coconut palm blossoms and it is a healthy alternative to processed sugar. In the ganache, I used the whole raw cashews, which is low in saturated fat and a good source of fiber, iron and zinc. Swanson sells these cashews in a 12 oz. bag for NOW Foods and they are organic and reasonably priced. The agave nectar which is a good alternative to processed sugar and artificial sweeteners is by Swanson and it is 100% certified organic which means it is guaranteed free of all chemicals and preservatives. Really enjoyed using Swanson Health Products in my recipes. The pricing is excellent and  they make ordering on line so easy.  Try Swanson, you will be very satisfied! Adapted from Womens Health Magazine.

 Ingredients for the ganache:

1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons agave nectar

Ingredients for the cake:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place cashews in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a Bundt pan with organic cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking power, cinnamon and salt.

In a separate bowl, with a wire whisk beat egg. Mix in sugar, oil, coffee and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix until no dry flour remains. Pour batter into pan.

Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

While the cake is baking, put cashews in a blender and add enough water that the cashews were soaking in to cover them. Process until smooth. In a small saucepan, combine cashew cream, chocolate and agave nectar. Cook over low heat until chocolate is completely melted, stirring often. Serve cake topped with cashew ganache and frozen vanilla yogurt. Enjoy!