Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken and White Bean Stew

This is an easy and tasty one pot meal that takes about 20 minutes to prep and pop in the oven to bake. It has your healthy veggies, celery, onions, carrots, garlic, and tomatoes. Plus cannellini beans are low-fat, high in fiber and provide a high quality of magnesium and iron.


6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large oven- proof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken both sides with salt, pepper and thyme. Add chicken to skillet and cook until both sides are brown about 8 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, and add onion, celery and carrot to skillet. Cook, stirring often about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, and scrape up any brown bits from bottom of skillet. Add diced tomatoes, beans, and parsley. Mix well. Add chicken.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Sprinkle bread crumbs and cheese over mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chocolate-Cherry Heart Cookies

I wanted to make something that had chocolate and cherries in it for Valentines Day. So, I took my low-fat Valentine cookie recipe and added cocoa powder to make a chocolate sugar cookie sandwich with a dark chocolate and cherry jam filling. This cookie is so decadent and just sweet enough with the cherry jam. If you have children, this would be a fun recipe to make cut-out hearts and to mix-up the filling for the cookies and to put them together like little sandwiches. Have a Happy Valentines Day!

Ingredients for cookie dough:

5 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted for work surface
2 ounces dark chocolate chips, very finely chopped (I used a food processor)
3 tablespoons cherry jam
1 egg white, beaten with 1/2 teaspoon water
Sugar for sprinkling
Equipment: 2 1/2-inch heart- shaped cookie cutter


Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and almond extract, mixing well.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour mixture into butter mixture until dough forms. The dough may seem a little crumbly at first, but it will come together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and shape into a disk. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Stir the chopped chocolate and cherry jam together in a small bowl until combined.

Sprinkle work surface and rolling pin with confectioners sugar. Roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use heart-shaped cookie cutter dipped in confectioners sugar to make 38 cut-outs. Gather scraps and re-roll until all the dough is used. Place half of the hearts at least 1-inch apart on cookie sheets.

Evenly spread about 1 level teaspoon of the chocolate/jam mixture over each heart, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Brush the outer edge of the hearts lightly with egg-white wash. Place another dough heart over the filling and gently press the edges to seal. Continue with remaining dough cut-outs. Lightly brush the surface of the cookies with egg-white wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12-14 minutes until set. Let cool on the pan slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Guest Post - Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

This is a guest post and photo from my good friend, Jan. She has been busy cooking and baking recipes, since she is now retired from the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. She has this beautiful gourmet kitchen that she can now enjoy and create new and mouthwatering meals.
This recipe is full of healthy vegetables like red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, and sugar snap peas. It is flavored with fresh ginger, garlic and onion. She uses lean steak which is a good source of protein and vitamin B12, selenium and zinc which is important part of a heart- healthy diet.
Thanks Jan, for this quick, easy and tasty recipe!


2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup less sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 lb. beef round steak or any lean steak, cut in strips
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 each red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, cut in strips
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 small onion, thinly sliced


In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch, and broth until smooth. Then stir in the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes. Set aside.
Heat a large pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry steak strips until done. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan, add other 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the peppers, snap peas and onion until tender.
Stir in the broth mixture and bring to a boil. Stir and cook one minute or until thickened. Return beef to pan and combine.
Serve immediately plain or over brown rice. Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dark Chocolate Dipped Granola Bars

Heart-shaped granola bars dipped in dark luscious chocolate for Valentine's Day. These heart healthy bars has lots of oats, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, and agave nectar to give the bars enough sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth. I used a 2 1/2-inch heart cookie cutter which made 11 granola hearts. Happy Valentine's Day to all!


1/4 cup peanut butter, creamy
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries or any dried fruit you would like here
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and I used parchment paper on top of the foil.
In a small saucepan heat on low, the peanut butter, applesauce, milk, agave or honey, cocoa powder, cinnamon, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix oats, coconut, raisins, cranberries, and almonds. Fold in the peanut butter mixture. Place cookie cutter on parchment lined cookie sheet and spoon batter into cookie cutter, filling to top of cookie cutter. Press down with spoon. Gently lift the cookie cutter away from the granola and press down around edges to help keep its shape.  Reform granola hearts with spoon if necessary and repeat.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack completely. Put a piece of wax paper under wire rack. In microwave safe bowl put chocolate chips and microwave for 1 minute. Stir with fork to make sure chips have melted. Take cooled granola bar and dip into melted chips and place back on rack to cool. Then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guilt Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you like a soft chocolate chip cookie with just enough sweetness to satisfy, then this cookie is for you. This cookie is filled with mini chocolate chips, oats, whole wheat pastry flour, agave nectar and Greek yogurt, which provides nutrition for a guilt free indulgence. So, go ahead and enjoy for an afternoon snack or anytime!


1/3 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, baking soda, coconut, cinnamon and chips.
In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla extract.
Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the wet mixture. Fold in just until mixed, do not over mix.
Take a small 1-inch ice cream scoop or a teaspoon and drop the balls on a cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Flatten the balls with the back of a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or till the tops are lightly brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 1 minute and transfer to cooling rack. Makes 20 cookies.