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.

Healthy Side Dish - Green Beans 3 Times

One of my favorite side dishes are fresh green beans. To give them a little bit more kick I have few ways of spicing them up.

Beans with fresh garlic and turkey bacon:

• Green beans (I use a handful per serving)
• ½ slice of turkey bacon-chopped in small little pea size squares
• 1 -2 gloves of garlic-pressed

1. Boil the beans in salted water (just a little bit of salt-1/4 teaspoon) so that they are tender.Drain them.
2. Add some olive oil spray in the pot. Then add sliced pieces of turkey bacon and garlic in it and brown it a bit. Throw the beans back in and mix.Done!

Less garlicky version: I use garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic- just sprinkle it over the beans.

Beans with buttery bread crumbs:

• Green beans (I use a handful per serving)
• 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
• 2 tablespoon of plain bread crumbs or herb & garlic bread crumbs (my favorite)

1. Boil the beans in salted water (just a lit le bit of salt-1/4 teaspoon) so that they are tender. Drain them.
2. Add butter in to a coated pan and melt.Add the bread crumbs and stir in. Brown just a little bit- careful, it goes quick.
3. Either add the beans in the pan and mix it up or sprinkle the bread crumbs on the beans when serving.

Now- go light on the butter- you still want to be on the healthy side. Using the breadcrumbs is usually a treat!

July 10, 2010

Healthy, Easy and Juicy - Barbeque Turkey Burger

Craving for a burger? This one is for sure a great healthy alternative to a beef burger. I found this recipe a while back in a Cooking Light book and adapted it. Served with some broccoli and steakfries you get dinner ready in 30 minutes. The burgers or meatballs like I call them are great as a snack the next day as well. It's easy to skip the bread and just eat teh meatballs.
One thing to consider- do not use the 99% fat free free meat- otherwise you end up with a really dry burger. Look  for the 93/7 version!

Barbeque Turkey Burger

1 lbs ground turkey meat - 93/7
2 tablespoons of plain bread crumbs
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup of barbeque sauce
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Add meat and all other ingredients in any order into a bowl and mix together with your hands.

2. Form meat patties. I usually make them smaller, more like a flat little meat ball so I get about 8 out it. Or you make four large patties.

3. Preheat the grill pan on high, then turn to medium heat and place the burgers in the pan. Grill from both sides until done.(approx. 5-7 minutes on each side)

Nutritional information and the original recipe I found on my recipes.com

Tip 1: I usually cover the pan. This keeps the meat really moist and juicy.

Tip 2: Instead of using regular burger buns I use dinner wheat rolls. They are smaller and have less calories. More room for cheese.

Tip 3: Sometimes I prep the meat the day before and have the patties ready to grill. This way I can have dinner ready within 20 minutes without any stress.

Tip 4: As a side I use steak fries which take about 20 minutes in the oven and grilled or cooked asparagus.

Healthy Cooking – Easy Grilling inside

Before I share my favorite burger recipe talk about my favorite grill pan. When I started my healthy cooking journey I noticed that grilling was the ideal method for cooking meat.

Sure, there’s a gas barbeque outside, but I’m not keen on cooking outside in the winter. Not to mention, I still haven’t figured out how to use the BBQ .

After researching online, and shopping at the local mall, I chose the Analon grill pan. The price was reasonable, and the best 40 dollars I have spent on cookware. I even purchased for my folks in Germany and my in-laws.

I use the pan for grilling burgers, chicken, turkey , veggies, fish and sausages. I prefer to use olive oil spray when using this grill pan, but it’s not necessary. I heat the pan intially on high, and reduce to medium heat. The pan produces excellent char marks – same as on the BBQ. When I’m finished cooking with the pan, I put some water in the grill pan and let it soak.Clean up is simple and easy with the Analon Grill Pan .

When I travel with my husband and stay in a apartment or room with kitchenette we even take the pan with us.That’s how much we love it. One kitchen tool I do not want to go without anymore.

Healthy Recipe-Turkey Beef Taco Meat

One thing I learned when reading Jilian Michael's book Master your Metabolism – stay a way from processed food. In the past I always enjoyed the different spice mixes ready to go. Especially with fajitas and taco meat. So I started looking for a recipe that makes Taco meat from scratch , is low fat and still easy to cook .

Hot and Quick - Beef Chilli with Green Salsa

I always thought making chilli takes time and a slowcooker. Not anymore with this version. I usually prepare it a day before to let it sit overnight . So it’s good for a dinner night when you know time is running out or you will be tired anyway.

1. 16 oz Lean ground beef (93/7)
2. 1 red bell pepper sliced in small ½ inch chunks
3. 1 onion chopped
4. 1 tablespoon Chili powder
5. 6 cloves of garlic pressed
6. 1 teaspoon Cumin
7. ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
8. 1 glass Green Salsa Verde (I use …always looking to try to keep the sodium low)
9. 1 can Kidney Beans- low sodium
10. ¼ cup of water

Prep: Chop the onions, bell pepper and garlic; put the spices (cumin,cayenne,chili powder) together in a small bowl with the garlic; open can of beans ,rinse with cold water and drain


1. Heat up a pan or a pot and add the first 3 ingredients (beef,onion,pepper) and start browning the meat. Takes about 8-10 minutes. Use first high, then turn down to medium heat.While occasionally stirring prep for the next few steps..

2. Prep the garlic(peel and mince).Then add the spices- chili, cumin ,cayenne pepper and garlic in a bowl. When meat is brown, add the spice and stir for abour 30 seconds.

3. Next add the salsa and a bit of water. Rinse the beans and last but not least: Add the beans and stir. 

Cover and keep on low heat for the next 10-15 minutes.

Voila. You have your chilli ready to go. I adapted the recipe from eatingwell.com .
We love to eat it with some parmesan cheese bread.Yummy. And sure low on calories!

July 9, 2010

Loosing Weight - but not with a diet?

I still remember when I started looking into healthier food options. It all began watching Biggest Loser episodes on a Sunday afternoon. By then I was already frustrated.Despite me working out about an hour in the gym almost every day I kept gaining pound after pound - ever since I successfully stopped smoking.Within a year I added slowly about 15 pounds. I started to wonder what’s wrong because I don’t eat many sweets , deep fried food or fast food.

After that Biggest Loser tv marathon and knowing that I did not want to look for some special diet I bought the Jillian Michael's “Master your Metabolism” book . The message that stuck with me and made the most sense - get away from processed food. Back to the basics of cooking.

Oh boy, how is that gonna work I thought – I don’t like spending much time in the kitchen when it comes to preparing and cooking food. And I don’t want to have to buy all the special ingredients that you use only once in a while and then they go bad. How am I going to cook good meals within my 30 minutes kitchen time.Cooking food that taste good so my husband likes it too . Me being a picky eater does not make it any easier- I am not a leafy greens kinda person- so no salads for me.

So I started searching for recipes online, in magazines and books.Some of the great recipes I found as well as other little tricks I am starting to share here.