September 19, 2010

A Step into the German Kitchen- Koenigsberger Klopse

After the previous blog post German Apple Cake  it's time to post one of my favorite german dishes. While it reminds me of comfort food it fits the quick, easy and healthy categories!
The german name sounds a bit intimidating- Koenigsberger Klopse- which in English means plain and simple meatballs with gravy. Now, I am not going to explain all the history that's tied in with the name - there are plenty of blogs out in the blogosphere that do. Most recipes you will find use ground beef or ground pork or a mix.When you look for similar recipes you will find variations of the meatballs with the lemon tasty gravy using anchovies,white wine or heavy cream. I have been using for years the lean ground turkey meat which makes it a lighter version. And as long as you have the basic ingredients at home you can create this dinner within 20 minutes. It's also great to be prepared ahead for an even faster dinner. So enjoy a bit of German cooking.

For the meatballs:
1 lbs turkey ground meat (93% lean)
1 slice of bread soaked in water
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoons of mustard
1 egg white( save the yolk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the gravy:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
2 1/2 cups of broth from the meatballs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of capers
juice from 1 lemon

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. While waiting for that add ground meat, onions, mustard, egg white and the bread (drain the water first), salt and pepper and mix all together with your hands.Then form small meatballs and add to the boiling water. Reduce to medium heat. It takes about 10 minutes until done.
Meanwhile mix egg yolk, milk, capers and lemon in a small bowl.

2. After the meatballs have been boiled take about 2 1/2 cups of the broth the meatballs are in and run it through a strainer. In a larger pan or pot add butter and flour and stir until nicely melted. Then add the broth and bring to boil. Stir. Add the egg-milk-lemon-caper mix and stir again. Let simmer. Finally add the meatballs to the gravy and let them "soak" in it for at least 5 minutes.

Serve with boiled potatoes.

September 9, 2010

A basket of bribes - German Apple Cake

German Apple Cake Cupcakes - Aren't they looking yummy?
The other day my husband needed some "goodies"- a basket of bribes- for a meeting so I suggested I make my German apple cake. Take some pictures and create another blogpost. I was thinking quick and easy. Mix all the ingredients in less than 5 minutes and up in the oven. This recipe has been in our family for years and usually it's baked in a rectangular baking pan. For the meeting purpose I decided to go with cupcake forms. I got it all done in less than 30 minutes and the house smelled so good. 

Ready to start writing and then I got thinking. How many calories are in this beautiful, tasty cupcake. I tried to add up all by hand but then I found this great tool online. This online calorie calulator allows you to add your recipe and then it spits out the count. Although I usually with my recipes have a good feel on the nutritional value and the so beloved calories I was a bit shocked when I saw the number for one  of those little cakes.

I did a bit research on healthy desserts. There are some that you find for about 100 calories. And even some desserts showed up under healthy and had the same amount of calories. But the amount of fat was a lot lower.

I sure love the apple cake and I am not saying you can't eat it. Even I had a few bites. But I decided to not put the recipe on this blog until I find a way of a less fatty version without loosing the great taste - or find some other healthier desert option. 


September 8, 2010

A Keeper - Pasta with Chicken and Roasted Tomato Almond Pesto Sauce

The other day my husband sent me on a "hunt" for a red pasta sauce. We both love pasta but I have been cutting it out of our meal plans as it's so easy for me to eat more than one portion  of it - and when watching the calories it's sooo easy to add on to many of those with pasta dishes. Also,when buying marina sauces they usually come in  large containers which is more than we usually eat anyway. And I have not been really thinking about making a sauce from scratch.
My "hunt" started and I was determined to find a recipe with the ingredients we like, not to many special items to buy and still easy to make. And I found one on - again. I tested it first the other day with a small portion and knew immediately that my husband will love it as well. I made the sauce from scratch while preparing the spagetti and grilling some chicken. Including the frequent stops for taking the pictures for this blog I got the whole meal done in less than 30 minutes. And we both decided - this one is a keeper!

Roasted Tomato Almond Pesto Sauce
adapted from

1 can 14.5 oz Fire Roasted Tomato sauce with Garlic
1/4 cup of sliced Almonds (bought in the bulkfood section- just a small amount)
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese

1. Heat up a small pan and toast the almond slices for a couple minutes until they get slightly brown and you can smell them. Meanwhile open the can of tomatoes and drain them a bit.

2. Add the almonds in the food chopper or food processor and grind for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes, basil, red wine vinegar, olive oil  and crushed pepper and run the processor again. Last but not least add the parmesan cheese.

Either transfer the sauce into a small sauce pot to heat up or refrigerate.You can also freeze it- although I highly doubt that you will have leftover.

When preparing the whole meal  here the time saver tips and the order of steps:
additional ingredients you will need:
whole wheat pasta - 2 oz per serving
1 chicken breast per serving
salt and lemon pepper

1. Prepare the chicken- remove any fat and flatten the chicken breast (I use a meat mallet).
    Cut in smaller pieces. Salt and pepper.
2. Start to boil a pot of water for the pasta.You can omit the salt.
3. Prepare the sauce while water starts boiling. Add pasta to the water and set timer for 6-7 minutes.
4. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and add chicken. It takes about 5-6 minutes to get it done as the meat is small.
5. Drain Pasta. Heat up sauce.
6. Serve and enjoy.

By doing the sauce yourself you are not really adding much more time than using a store bought sauce.

September 6, 2010

For friends and family - Spinach Stuffed Turkey Rouladen

Every now and then I cook for friends or family and so I spent a little bit more than my usual 30 minutes in the kitchen. I like to cook meals that can be prepared ahead of time and only require minimal action when cooking. This way I can enjoy the company. And - of course I try to make it still easy and healthy.
The stuffed turkey rouladen evolved actually from a stuffed chicken recipe my mother-in-law came up with. Sometimes I cook both as some people are just not into turkey.With a white wine infused gravy and some parmesan ovenroasted potatoes you will have a winner for a familiy or friends dinner night.
If timewise possible I prepare the turkey rouladen a day ahead so that it's ready to go in the oven. Just take about fifteen minutes after or while you prepare another dinner. Then the next evening it takes twenty minutes in the oven and dinner is ready to be served. Now, if you plan the oven roasted potatoes you gotta start those about twenty minutes earlier. But side by side in the oven they get done at the same time.
Gravy is just another 5 minutes and usually I serve the meal with some green green veggies just as asparagus or beans.That takes no time at all either.
All you have to do is watch the timer and enjoy a nice evening with friend or family.

Spinach Stuffed Turkey Rouladen:

2 pieces of turkey breast
10 oz of spinach - washed and chopped
1 slice of turkey bacon, cut in small pieces
1/4 onion chopped
1-2 tablespoons feta cheese
1-2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese (I use fat free cheddar)
2 slices of pepperjack cheese

1. Cover the turkey breast with some clingwrap or other foil. Pound slightly. Separate the two pieces and remove the string in the middle and any fat. Lay out the pieces of meat and lightly salt and pepper on both sides. Put half a slice of pepperjack cheese on the meat.

2. Heat up a skillet pan with some olive oil spray and add the spinach, onion and bacon and sautee for a couple minutes. Then add the spinach mix in a bowl and add feta cheese and cheddar cheese. You can substitute the cheese with any you like or skip the cheese as you use already pepperjack.

3.Place a spoonfull of spinach mix on each of the meat pieces. Roll up and keep together with toothpicks. Wrap up in foil if prepared ahead a time and refrigerate. Cover a baking sheet with a double layer of alufoil- it gets messy during baking-lets of running cheese. Spray with Cooking spray and place rouladen on the sheet.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the rouladen in the oven for about 20 minutes. Broil for the last 2-3 minutes to get some crispyness, Dont worry that it looks like a lot of cheese running out. Still plenty in the rouladen and fabulous delicious.

For the ovenroasted potatoes:
Quarter some red potatoes- about 3 per serving.Place in a bowl, sprinkle with italian seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix with some olive oil . Cover a baking sheet with alufoil and layout potatoes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake for about 40 minutes. After 20 minutes in- sprinkle the potatoes with parmesan cheese.

White wine gravy:
2 tablespoons fine chopped onions
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon of Lime juice

Sautee the onion  over medium heat, add white wine and simmer until reduced to half. Add the chickenbroth, worcestershire, mustard and lime juice.Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a little bit salt to taste.

September 3, 2010

Healthy Chicken Fajitas - Two for one - Part 2

Here the continuation of my "two for one" cooking deal. The huge two pound pieces of chicken got trimmed and cut into 1 inch strips.One half I used for the most delicious almond crusted chicken fingers, the others I prepared my chicken fajita meat with while waiting that the chicken fingers get done in the oven. I had to stay around in the kitchen anyway. I prepared the meat with the marinade as well as cut up some peppers and onion and fridgerate it. This way the next day I only had to heat up the pans and dinner was done in less than 15 minutes.
I love this recipe as I can control all the spices, especially the salt. It also is fairly low on the calorie side - provided you are not loading it up with lots a cheese and sour cream. Small wheat tortillas are another way to cut some calories.

Chicken Fajitas
adapted from Taste of Home
serves 4

Chicken Fajitas-preparation:
1-2 pieces of chicken, trimmed of fat and cut in strips
1/4 of an onion chopped
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of lime juice (juice of one lime)
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Veggie Prep:
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 medium yellow onion

To serve Fajitas:
Whole wheat tortillas
Fat free sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Salsa or Black Bean Salsa

1. Cut the chicken in small 1/2 inch strips after removing all the fatty pieces. Chop up onion, press out a lemon, mince some garlic. Add the chicken in a ziploc bag and add oil, onion,garlic, vinegar, worcestersauce and the spices and mix it all up. Refridgerate.

2. Can be done ahead a time as well.: Chop the onion and the pepper in strips ready to go for the next day.Refridgerate.

3. Preheat  the grillpan as well as a skillet pan side by side. Add the chicken pieces to the grillpan. Discard the marinade.Grill the chicken to get it nicely brown . 5-6 minutes. Next to it in the skillet pan you can add some olive oil and the pepper and onion strips and start browning them. Spice up with some cumin.


Then add the chicken to the veggies and stir. Use a small amount of water to keep it moist .

4. Transfer to a bowl. Serve with wheat tortilla ,sour cream, cheese and salsa. Just enjoy this healthy meal.

August 30, 2010

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers - Two For One in under 30 minutes - Part 1

I am sure everyone likes the "buy one, get one free" or "two for one" deals. So here is my deal.While spending less than 30 minutes in the kitchen you can create two meals. It started out with getting 3 pieces of chicken breast which ended up being huge... almost 2 pounds in total. I cut the pieces into 1 inch thick strips (no measurement tape required). So I figured I make one of our new favorites- Almond crusted chicken fingers. And while those are baking in the oven for 20 minutes just go for Chicken fajita preparation for tomorrow nights dinner.  The way I see it- dinner will be a snap tomorrow night and the chicken fingers are a great snack on Saturday for lunch or for a full dinner if served with some steakfries and broccoli.

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers
adapted from
1-2 pieces of chicken breast, trimmed of fat and cut in strips
1 cup of raw almonds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Eggbeater or eggs
Cooking oil spray

1. Preheat oven to about 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet and layout with aluminium foil. Spray some Oil spray to avoid too much sticking later.

2. Trim any fat of the chicken and cut the pieces of chicken in strips.

3. In a small food processor grind up the almonds.Then add all the spices, mix again and  add the olive oil.
(You can mix up an egg instead- I just don't usually have egg in the fridge.)

4. Dip the chicken first in the egg beater, then in the almond mixture and place on the baking sheet.
Spray all pieces with a bit Cooking oil spray, it helps getting them crispy. Put the sheet in the oven and set time for 20 minutes.

August 29, 2010

When it has to be fast... Roasted BBQ Chicken and Pesto Tortellini

I am sure everyone knows the feeling. It's already late and I am hungry, husband is not around tonight and the easiest would be just to stop and grab some fast food somewhere. I stopped on the way home at the supermarket and grabbed a roasted chicken for five bucks and a package of my favorite wheat tortellini. I knew I had still some pesto at home.

Now, one would say the roasted chicken is not the greatest health food  if you think about all the fat. As tempting and delicous as the nice roasted skin looks like  it's a big no no.... I mainly just use the white meat for my dishes - more so because I am not a fan of the dark meat (but my husband uses it for lunch meat so it works). I use the roasted BBQ chicken quite often if I am in a time crunch or just don't feel like spending to much time in the kitchen. So there will be a few more recipes.

Same could be said about the pesto- there are quite a few calories if you use lots of it. But a spoonful isn't gonna hurt. Anyway, going back to me being hungry. In less than 15 minutes I had my dinner ready. And here is how I did it:

Roasted BBQ Chicken and Pesto Tortellini

Roasted BBQ chicken (flavor does not matter)
1 cup Wheat tortellini (per person)
Some parmesan cheese

1.Start boiling the water for the tortellini. While waiting for the water to start boiling peel of some pieces of chicken.

2. Heat a small coated pan and add some cooking spray. Add the pieces of chicken. Sprinkle with a little bit of lemon pepper if you like it like me. The meat usually has enough flavor. Add the tortellini to the water- about a cup full per person. Boil 6-8 minutes.

3. Turn the chicken occasionally - just want to get it a bit crunchy, gold brown. Remove from stove. Drain the tortellini, then add a tablespoon of pesto and mix it.

4. Serve tortellini and chicken. Sprinkle some parmesan over it.

You certainly can add any kind of veggies or a salad.. I was just too hungry this time. The leftover BBQ chicken I am gonna use for BBQ chicken pizza and some lunch meat.The rest of the tortellini I keep in the fridge or freezer for another quick meal soon.

August 26, 2010

Quick yet delicious BBQ Chicken dinner when running late

Just the other night I knew I was going to run late after visiting a friend. So I needed to get dinner on the table quickly. Before I left I prepared in just a few minutes what I needed.
Cut up some chicken breast pieces in small cubes-no perfection or geometrie required - and get rid of all the fatty pieces..I am really picky with the fat. Tossed the chicken pieces in a bowl. Got out my BBQ sauce and Dijon mustard and mixed the chicken with it. No other spices- the BBQ sauce has enough salt in. Covered it up and put it in the fridge.
I had some broccoli on hand so I trimmed it, washed it and put it in a pot with water- ready to cook. I knew I would have steak fries with it- so no prep necessary here.

First thing I did when I came back was preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Got my baking sheet pan out, alu foil to cover the pan (and save me the scrubbing later on). Added the fries and up in the oven with them. Set the timer for 20 minutes.

Next, while catching up with my husband and enjoying a glass of wine, I got my favorite grilling pan out and started heating it up on high. Added the chicken to the pan, turned down to medium and turned the chicken occasionally. At the same time started the broccoli on high - for about 10 minutes (or less if you like it more crunchy). Chicken was done in about 10-12 minutes. Still nice and juicy, not dried up. Just covered it up for the time being. Word of advise: Add water  to the pan as it usually is messy after using BBQ sauce..

Used the rest heat and melted some magarine (less than a tablespoon) in a small coated pan. Added a tablespoon of Garlic Herb breadcrumbs. Browned it. Threw in the broccoli and stirred it up a bit so that they all got coated and maybe even a bit crunchy.
Voila, fries were ready at that time. So dinner was ready to serve. Without any stress. I would say it was caloriewise probably in the 500-600 range..(not counting my wine!)
BTW: I had some leftover bean salad which goes really well with it.

Grilled BBQ Chicken with Crusted Broccoli and Steakfries
for about 2 servings and a bit leftover the next day
2-3 pieces of chicken breast-trimmed of fat and cut in 1-11/2 inch cubes or stripes
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
3-4 tablespoons of BBQ sauce

1 crown of broccoli
1 tablespoon of butter or magarine
1 tablespoon of bread crumbs

Steak fries or sweet potatoe fries

 1.  Trim the chicken of any fat. Cut in small stripes or cubes. Toss in a bowl and mix up with mustard and  
      BBQ sauce. Let sit at least for 30 minutes.
2.   Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put frozen steakfries on a baking sheet and add to the oven.Set timer to
      20 minutes.
3.   Preheat the grill pan on high , add chicken and turn down to medium. Turn a few times to avoid burning.
      Start boiling the broccoli at the same time.
4.   When chicken is done, put aside and cover. Drain the broccoli.
5.   Melt some butter or margarine and add breadcrumbs. Brown it , then toss the broocoli in it to get
6.   Serve and enjoy.

August 24, 2010

Healthy snack and great for a party

On one of the summer evenings I was craving for some snacks and I went on a search for dips. I always loved avocados but I've never made guacomole. I found a great, quick and easy recipe for a dip. But that's just half the story. I am not a great fan of chips- once in a while some wheat crackers are ok. I have read and heard a lot about pita chips. I bought some in the store, but urghhhhh -the amount of sodium just scares me. Again I went on a search and after reading a few recipes and how-to's  I got started with ......

Homemade Pita Chips and Avocado Corn Salsa

Homemade pita chips:
  • 4 wheat pita pockets
  • lemon pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • non fat cheddar cheese and or  parmesan cheese (fresh or dry)
  • Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 400- 425 degrees.
Cuts the pita pockets  in  small pieces (squares or triangles) .

Separate the two halves and lay them out on a baking pan (which you should lay out with parment paper or aluminium foil- no clean up afterwards).  Spray on Olive oil spray, then sprinkle with pepper, garlic powder,onion powder. No salt, the bread has already plenty. If you like add some cheese on top..
The 4 pita pockets fill 2 baking sheets and they can be baked at the same time.

Bake in the oven for about 6-8 minutes. After 5 minutes start keeping a closer eye on it as you don't want to burn them. While this is going on you can start the avocado corn salsa.

Avocado Corn Salsa
adapted from
  • 1/2 -1 cup thawed frozen corn
  • 6-8 cherry or grape tomatoes(you could use regular ones but the small ones are sweeter)-quarted
  • 2 avocados chopped in small cubes
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a dash of salt

1-2-3.. add it all in a bowl and mix it up. Keep in the fridge or just dive in...yummy.

Both you can do in under 15 minutes. So if friends are on the way and you have all the ingredients on hand you can impress them with this healthy snack. Or you just give yourself a treat..

August 22, 2010

A new love - black beans

Wow, it’s been more than 6 weeks since my last post. I was so busy trying out new recipes. Und now I am wondering with which one to start with. I discovered a new love for black beans and I was on a mission to find different ways of using them. They have plenty of health benefits, are tasty and filling and so easy to use.
I started stocking my pantry with black bean cans, the low sodium kind of course. Another item that found a regular place in my fridge- cilantro. With those two and a fewother items on hand I can create some great salads or side dishes.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango Salad
adapted from

This one is so easy to make. While caramelizing the corn and keeping an eye on it you can dice up the rest of the ingredients and have a great salad ready in 10 minutes.

1-1 ½ cup frozen thawed yellow corn
1 clove of garlic minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ripe mango – peeled , diced in small cubes
1 can black beans (low sodium) rinsed
1/2 of a red onion chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 tablespoon lime juice (about 2 small limes)
1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce- minced
1 ½ tablespoon cilantro
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat up the olive oil in a small pan(medium) and add corn and garlic. Stir occasionally until brown- about 8 minutes. The corn gets a nice caramelized look and taste.

While preparing the corn chop the rest of your ingredients and add to a bowl. Add the corn and mix everything together in a bowl. Cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

In less than 10 minutes you whipped up a great salad (or side dish to chicken or fish) . Great for lunch as well- just fill a a pita pocket.

July 11, 2010

Another Healthy Side Dish- Broccoli With Cheesy Sauce

Broccoli seems to be always an easy side dish for dinner. After I buy the broccoli usually at the weekend I trim the stems of and wash it and have the crowns ready to go in the fridge. That saves time during the week nights. I also found this cheaper than buying the prepped packages. Here the recipe that I adapted from the cooking light cookbook.

1 cup of no fat or low fat milk
1 tablespoonon of flour
½ fat free cheddar cheese or some other reduced fat cheddar
3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
Broccoli (handful of crowns per serving)- boil or steam until tender

1. Add flour in a small pot or sauce pan.Add the milk and keep stirring with a whisk. Bring to cook until bubbles.2-3 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and add cheese and remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth.
Takes less than 5 minutes and is enough sauce for 4-6 servings.