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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fried Apples

I saw these gorgeous apples in the grocery store and couldn't resist buying them.  They were crisp, sweet, and juicy!  After eating one I wondered what I would do with the rest of them, since I'm not a big apple-eater...FRIED APPLES!  These are great for breakfast or can be served alongside your favorite pork dish.  This dish comes together quickly and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand!


  • 3 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp honey

Servings: 6 • Size: 1/4 cup • Calories: 94.3 • Fat: 1.3 g • Carbs: 21.5 g • Fiber: 2.8 g 

• Protein 0.5 g • Sugar: 17.3 g


Melt the butter in a large heavy bottom skillet over medium-low heat.  Core and chop the apples into 1/2 inch slices.  Add the apples to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon, coating the apples in the melting butter.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Sprinkle the nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey over the apples and stir to coat.

Add the water to the skillet and stir.  Cover the pan and cook 8-10 minutes, or until the apples are tender and most of the water has evaporated.  Remove from heat and serve.  A syrup will form and thicken as the apples sit.  

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Pancakes

Happy Holidays!  I so enjoy this time of year with family, friends, and FOOD!  I also get to enjoy some much needed time off and indulge in late mornings.  Earlier this week I awoke with blueberry pancakes on my mind.  I've made pancakes before with whey protein powder but this time I omitted that in favor of flour and blueberry Greek yogurt.  These pancakes were moist, fluffy, and best of all FLAVORFUL!

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 oz blueberry Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1/2 tsp Canola oil
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • fresh blueberries (optional)

Servings: 4 • Size: 1 pancake • Calories: 121 (without fresh strawberries or other toppings) 

• Fat: 2.6 g • Carbs: 19.4 g • Fiber: 0.1 g • Protein 5.8 g • Sugar: 7.1 g


Mix the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl mix the egg, milk, yogurt, and Canola oil, careful not to over-mix, it should still be a bit lumpy.  Pour your wet mix into your dry and mix gently with a spatula.

Spray a pan or griddle liberally with olive oil cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  (If using a griddle, heat to 325 degrees).  Ladle the batter onto the griddle.  If you decide to use the fresh blueberries you can add them now, simply placing them on the pancakes as they cook.  Cook until the pancakes begin to bubble, then flip on the other side.  They should cook approximately 3 minutes per side. 

I served these topped with powdered sugar and warm honey and a side of fried apples

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Blackened Chicken Alfredo

Chicken breasts have become a staple on my weekly grocery lists.  I keep two or three of them in the freezer for quick thawing and cooking during the week.  A recent craving for Italian food prompted this latest creation.  The blackening seasoning used on the chicken breasts gives them great flavor and depth, and coupled with  my light Alfredo sauce and whole wheat pasta make for a filling meal!

  • 2 chicken breasts, fat removed
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided into 1 tbsp a piece

Servings: 4 • Size: 1 breast • Calories: 162 (Chicken Breasts ONLY; Alfredo Sauce and pasta is extra) • Fat: 5.1 g • Carbs 1.9 g • Fiber: 0.6 g • Protein 26.4 g • Sugar: 0.4 g


Split the chicken breasts lengthwise, creating 4 cutlets.  Pound the breasts until approximately 1 inch thin.  Drizzle olive oil over the breasts and set them aside.  Combine all of the seasonings in a shallow bowl  and mix well.

Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over each side of the cutlets, rubbing the mixture into the meat.  Make sure the cutlets are thoroughly covered.  

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat.  Melt the 1 tbsp. butter in the pan until it begins to bubble.  Swirl the butter around the pan and add the cutlets, cooking in batches.  Overcrowding will cause the meat to "steam".  

Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side.  Remove the cutlets from the pan and cook your next batch, melting the remaining butter in the pan before adding the cutlets.  Once all the cutlets are finished cooking, allow them to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  

Build your plate first adding your whole wheat pasta, topped with your sliced chicken breast and 1/4 cup of my light Alfredo sauce.  You can garnish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and flat leaf parsley.  

Lightened Up Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo is one of the most decadent sauces you can eat, but also one of the best!  When I go to an Italian restaurant I almost ALWAYS order a dish with some sort of Alfredo sauce as a treat to myself.  Luckily, I've found a way to lighten this dish up at home by  substituting some of the ingredients.  Serve this sauce over your favorite whole pasta with fresh veggies and a grilled meat and you're in for a delicious and healthy meal.   

  • 1 tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. parsley, chopped

Servings: 6 • Size: 1/2 cup • Calories: 165 • Fat: 9.9 g • Carbs: 9.2 g • Fiber: 0 g • Protein 9.8 g • Sugar: 4.3 g


Add the EVOO to a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and saute' until fragrant, about 30-45 seconds, careful not to let it burn.  Add the flour and continue to cook, stirring with a wooden spoon.  You should have a thick paste-like substance.

Whisk in the milk, chicken broth, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Increase the heat to medium-high, whisking constantly until thickened (approx. 6-7 minutes).  Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well incorporated.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the chopped parsley.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spinach, Bacon, and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

When I started my weight loss journey back in April 2012, the first thing I discovered was how high in protein chicken breasts are.  This was great news because I love chicken but my usual way of eating it; fried, smothered, or covered, was a no no...and panic set in!  Was there even another way to eat chicken?  In my mind, NO!  Over the next few months I discovered this was not true!  Chicken is such a versatile meat and just a slight change in cooking method or spices can create a completely different meal!

After indulging in Chicken Cordon Bleu at a local restaurant I went online and found literally thousands or recipes for how to stuff chicken breasts.  Spinach has always been a favorite of mine, as well as bacon, so I figured I'd try that first.  Many of the recipes I saw called for the addition of nutmeg but I'm not a big fan of that spice unless its in cakes or pies...In any event, I jazzed up my recipe with a few other things, (mushrooms, Parmesan Romano cheese, etc.) so I hope you enjoy!

  • 3 chicken breasts, remove all visible fat
  • 4 pieces of thick cut bacon
  • 2 tbsp shallot minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 14 oz spinach chopped
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms chopped
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Wax paper
  • Salt and pepper

Optional Pan Sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine (cooking wine or a dry white wine)
  • Salt and pepper

 Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Coarsely chop the bacon into bite sized pieces and fry until the fat begins to render and the bacon begins to crisp. 

Add the shallots and garlic and saute' for 1-2 minutes or until the shallots begin to turn translucent.  Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms begin to brown.  Add your spinach and stir, making sure to coat the leaves with the bacon fat.


Add the heavy cream and cheese to the mixture.  Stir well, incorporating all the ingredients.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until sauce just begins to thicken.  Remove the pan from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.  The sauce will thicken more as it stands. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butterfly each chicken breast, being careful not to cut completely through the breast.  One at a time, place each breast between two sheets of wax paper and pound until thin.   
Evenly distribute the spinach mixture between the 3 chicken breasts.  Now the tricky part;  roll the breast on one side then overlap with the other side.  Secure closed with a toothpick, or use as many as necessary to keep it closed.  You don't want your filling falling out!  
Heat another pan over medium-high heat and add the EVOO.  Season each breast generously with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, searing it for approximately 4 minutes on each side.  (Do not overcrowd your pan or the breasts will "steam" not brown.  I cooked one breast at a time)

Spray a glass baking dish with a generous amount of cooking spray.  Once each breast is finished searing place it into the baking dish.  Bake the breasts uncovered for 25 minutes or until no longer pink (this time will vary depending on the thickness of your breasts)

Optional Pan Sauce

While your chicken is cooking, in the same pan you seared your chicken breast and over medium-low heat, add the butter and flour, stirring to combine.  When the butter begins to bubble and has melted stir in the chicken stock and wine.  Whisk the ingredients together, continuing to cook until the mixture reduces by half and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

Remove your chicken breasts from the oven and allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes.  This allows the juice the chicken has released during cooking to be re-absorbed. 


Slice the breasts into small rolls and drizzle with your pan sauce.  I served these with a side of whole grain angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.  Enjoy!