Black Bean Soup with Crispy Tortillas

vegetable oil, for frying tortillas
4 (6 inch) corn tortillas
dash or two of salt
1 onion, chopped about 1/4 inch
1 tsp ground cumin
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans (NOT drained!)
2-4 tbsp (to taste) fresh cilantro, chopped
black pepper (to taste)
lime juice (to taste)
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 medium tomato, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over moderately high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Add the tortillas and fry, stirring occasionally, until crisp and lightly golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. (Or you could do the easy thing, like me, and pull out your deep fryer!) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tortillas to paper towels to drain; season with salt.
In a medium soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil used to fry the tortillas. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and their liquid and 1 1/2 cups of water. **Optional Step: You can blend one can of the soup, with its liquid, for a creamier, thicker soup. I like it this way, but you can just dump in both cans if you'd like.** Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a tortillas, cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro. Squeeze a little lime juice over the soup and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 421
Fat 19g
Sodium 179mg
Carbs 43g
Fiber 14g
Protein 21g

Spicy Orange Chicken

The whole family really loves this dish! It's a great alternative to take out orange chicken and WAY better for you!! Serve it up with some broccoli or other veggie to round out the meal.

juice of 1 orange (about 1/3 cup)
zest of one orange
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp splenda
1 tsp ginger, grated
3-4 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bit sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
4 servings brown rice, cooked according to package directions

Combine orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, honey, splenda, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and set aside. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste and cook until lightly browned. Pour juice mixture over chicken and add oranges. Stir until sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice.

**I think this recipe has the perfect amount of kick to it. However, my daughter is a wimp when it comes to heat. If you have a child like mine, or maybe you or someone else you're feeding doesn't like the heat, make the recipe according to the directions, leaving out the flakes. You can dish up their serving and then mix in the flakes or sprinkle them on your own plate later if you wish!**

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 330
Fat 5.6g
Sodium 223mg
Carbs 39.5g
Fiber 2g
Protein 28.6g

Tomato Cream Chicken

(You've probably noticed but I use small plates a lot. Then I can fill up my whole plate without feeling guilty about how much food I'm eating.)

This is one of my favorite recipes, but because I don't like to eat a lot of meat I don't have it often. When I do, I like it with a cup of steamed broccoli sprinkled with 1 or 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese. Such a yummy, filling, healthy dinner!

8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
dash or two salt
dash or two pepper
dash or two garlic powder
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional: I generally love balsamic vinegar, but I don't like it in this)
2 tbsp heavy cream

Salt and pepper chicken breast halves to taste. Heat olive oil in skillet and brown chicken breasts on both sides, until cooked through. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Add tomato paste and tarragon to skillet. Cook briefly, stirring constantly. Whisk in chicken broth and balsamic vinegar (if using) and cook until thickened. Stir in cream and reheat to simmering. Slice chicken breasts and fan out slices on dinner plates. Drizzle sliced chicken with sauce.

Makes 2 servings

Calories 259
Fat 13.0g
Sodium 330mg
Carbs 6g
Fiber 0.3g
Protein 29g

Spicy Mexican Style Zucchini Casserole

(The first picture is how we ate this as a main dish the other night. The second picture is just the casserole which would also be really yummy as a side dish by itself.)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium summer squash, quartered and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup white/yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions (or leftovers!)
1/2 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 Roma or plum tomato, diced
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini, squash, and onion. Cook about 10 minutes. Stir in seasonings and spices and cook about 1 minute. Mix in the rice, beans, tomato, and green chiles. Heat through. Transfer to an 8x8 baking dish and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake about 15 minutes. (If you'd like you can broil for the last minute to get the cheese nice and light brown and bubbly). While casserole is baking, heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Warm tortillas, one at a time, until they begin to bubble. Then flip and do the same to the other side. When everything is finished, scoop casserole into tortillas and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 632
Fat 15g
Sodium 720mg
Carbs 44g
Fiber 5g
Protein 16g

Easy Homemade Vegetable Stir Fry

I used to buy the bags of prepackaged stir fry veggies and the bottled stir fry sauce. It never turned out great. This is just about as simple and SO much yummier!! I made this with the veggies I had on hand, but you can work around what you have in your house or what you like. Try it with peas, green beans, zucchini, water chestnuts, or cabbage!

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
1 onion, peeled, quartered, and sliced
2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
1 large stalk celery, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup stir fry sauce
4 servings brown rice, cooked according to package directions (I always use instant!!)

Heat oil in a wok over medium0high heat. Toss in all veggies and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add stir fry sauce and continue to stir fry until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

Makes 4 servings (about 1 cup vegetables, 2/3 cup rice).

Calories 318
Fat 6g
Sodium 609.5mg
Carbs 59g
Fiber 4.6g
Protein 7.5g

Stir Fry Sauce

(I know this doesn't look super appetizing, but it's so yummy on stir fry!! And this is actually half the recipe. I forgot to take the picture before I used half for dinner.)

Believe it or not, even with that nutritional information, this stuff is WAY more healthy than the store bought stuff. And tastier too!

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 cup unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tbsp ginger root, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water

Whisk all ingredients together. Can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Makes 2 (about 1 cup) servings.

**I know the sodium seems like it could kill a person, but 1 cup of this stuff is actually enough to flavor 4 servings of stir fry, so you're really only consuming about 571 mg, which is still a lot, but not over 2000!**

Calories 121.7
Fat 0.3g
Sodium 2,282.8mg
Carbs 27.8g
Fiber 0.4g
Protein 2.6g

Mexican Bean Stew

I had partial cans of assorted beans in my fridge and needed to find a way to use them. I found this recipe and just adjusted it to what I had on hand.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion becomes translucent. Stir in cumin. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, corn, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 209
Fat 3.5g
Sodium 497mg
Carbs 37g
Fiber 9.5g
Protein 9.8g

Bean and Veggie Quesadilla

1/4 onion, chopped
1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/8 cup frozen corn
1 slice large tomato, chopped
garlic powder, to taste
lime juice, to taste
cilantro, to taste
1 Tortillaland flour tortilla, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Saute onions and bell pepper in non-stick cooking spray over medium heat until onions are slightly brown. Add beans, corn, tomato, garlic powder, lime juice, and cilantro (if using dried; if fresh add later). Heat through. Spread cheese on half of tortilla. Top with beans and vegetable mixture. If using fresh cilantro, add now. Fold tortilla over and allow hot bean and veggie mixture to melt the cheese. Possible toppings: salsa or pico de gallo, low fat sour cream, avocado or guacamole.

Makes 1 serving.

Calories 321.4
Fat 9g
Sodium 346mg
Carbs 46.5g
Fiber 6g
Protein 15.4g

Vegetable Cream Curry

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 large stalk celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1/2 inch) piece ginger root, peeled and grated
2 tbsp curry powder (more or less to increase or decrease spiciness)
1 tbsp garam masala (more or less to increase or decrease spiciness)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 servings of brown rice, cooked according to package directions (I always use instant; it's easy!)

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, pepper, carrot, and celery until onions are slightly brown. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, and sugar. Continue stirring for about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, soy sauce, broth, cream, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Serve over brown rice.

**This is pretty spicy! My kids like spicy things like salsa and whatnot, but this is too much for them. I loved it, though!**

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 401
Fat 15g
Sodium 533.5mg
Carbs 60g
Fiber 4.7g
Protein 6.6g

Crockpot Indian Lentil Stew

1/2 cup dried lentils
1/2 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 small or 1/2 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 small-medium carrot, sliced
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 tsp garam masala (an Indian spice mixture found with the spices or in the ethnic foods section)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, (more or less to increase or decrease heat)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Use a 3 quart crockpot. Chop all of your vegetables and toss them into the crockpot. Drain and rinse beans and add them. Add the lentils. Grate ginger over crockpot. Add spices. Stir in the broth and tomatoes. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. The longer the better. It even tastes better the next day. Before serving, blend 1/2 stew in small bathes and return to crockpot. Stir together and warm through a few more minutes. Serve with whole with pita bread (for a healthy option) or traditional naan. (I like to dip my pita bread in this. It's so yummy! Very different flavors and smells like holiday spices!)

Makes about 4 (1 cup) servings.

Calories 204
Fat 1.5g
Sodium 933mg
Carbs 39.5g
Fiber 11g
Protein 11g

Minestrone Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 cup red cabbage, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cans low sodium vegetable broth
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp parsley (or to taste)
2 tsp oregano (or to taste)
2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp basil (or to taste)
2tsp thyme (or to taste)
12 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni

Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. When vegetables are tender add remaining ingredients, except pasta. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes or until vegetables are desired tenderness. Return to a boil and add pasta for 8-10 minutes.

Makes 12 servings.

Calories 162
Fat 3g
Sodium 837mg
Carbs 29g
Fiber 8g
Protein 7g

Vegetable-Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 large portabello mushroom cap, wiped clean and stem removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 eggplant, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped
2 tbsp mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 plum tomato, diced
1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (about 3-4 pieces)
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Pour the balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder into a ziplock bag and mix together. Place the mushroom in the bag and turn gently to coat the mushroom evenly with marinade. Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. After about 40-45 minutes, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the eggplant and cook about 5 minutes or until eggplant is golden brown. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. By the time you're done, your mushroom should be ready. Remove the mushroom, shake off any excess, and discard marinade. (The vinegar is strong, so you may lightly rinse the mushroom or squeeze some of the excess vinegar off if you don't want the strong vinegar flavor). Place mushroom in baking dish, top side down. Spoon the eggplant and spinach mixture evenly over the mushroom. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with tomatoes and artichoke hearts, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 12-15 minutes until cheese melts.

Makes 1 serving.

**This recipe is really simple to duplicate. If you're serving it to a group and you end up with leftovers try chopping it up in an omelet the next morning!! Super yummy!**

Calories 260
Fat 12g
Sodium 495mg
Carbs 30g
Fiber 8g
Protein 13.5g

Turkey Meatball and Orzo Soup

1 cup orzo
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb turkey sausage, casings removed and discarded and rolled into 20 (1-inch) meatballs (spicy or sweet sausage is fine, I prefer spicy)
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
pepper to taste

Boil salted water. Add orzo and boil until orzo is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse in cold water, then drain and let cool. While orzo is boiling, heat oil over medium heat in soup pot. Cook meatballs about 4 minutes, until lightly browning. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute. Add broth and season with pepper to taste. Bring broth to a simmer and add meatballs. Cook about 3 or 4 minutes, then add spinach and orzo. Cook about 1 minute or until spinach is wilted.

Makes about 5 (1 1/2 cup) servings.

Calories 310
Fat 10g
Sodium 992mg
Carbs 34g
Fiber 2g
Protein 23.5g

Homemade Veggie Burger with Tahini Mayonnaise

1/2 cup bulgar
1/4 tsp salt
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 large carrot, grated
2 tbsp tahini
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
6 leaves hearts of romaine
1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced
6 whole wheat English muffins, toasted

tahini mayonnaise:
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix bulgur with salt and 1 cup boiling water. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit until bulgur is tender (but still slightly chewy), about 30 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to remove liquid. Place beans in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher until a coarse paste forms. Add breadcrumbs, scallions, egg, carrot, cayenne, tahini, and bulgur. Season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Form mixture into 6 patties, each about 1 inch thick. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Cook patties until browned and firm, 5 to 8 minutes per side. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and tahini. Season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers on English muffins with tomato, lettuce, and tahini mayonnaise.

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 404
Fat 20g
Sodium 711mg
Carbs 46g
Fiber 9.5g
Protein 12.5g

Amazing! Vegetable Lasagna

**I have never before made lasagna from scratch. This took a lot of time (about 30 minutes prep and an hour to cook) but it was completely worth it! Tasted every bit as good as any store or restaurant lasagna I've ever had!!**

6 pieces whole wheat lasagna pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup zucchini, sliced and cut in fourths (1 small zucchini)
1/2 cup carrot, sliced thin
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin and chopped
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup red cooking wine
2 cups tomato basil pasta sauce
2 tbsp commercial pesto
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Boil lasagna noodles for about 2 minutes less than package directions indicate. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain well and cut in half. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, red onion, and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine and cook another 3 minutes or until wine has evaporated. Add pasta sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl combine ricotta, pesto, and Parmesan. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cup veggie sauce across the bottom of the dish. Arrange 4 noodle halves over sauce. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture and cover with 1 cup tomato mixture. Repeat layers twice and end with the remaining veggie sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, cover, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 280
Fat 11g
Sodium 523mg
Carbs 19g
Fiber 4g
Protein 17g

Albino Chili

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds to decrease spiciness)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 tsp powdered cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces cooked chicken breast, in small cubes
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

Saute onion and garlic in oil in pot until tender. Add jalapeno, chiles, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt, and saute another minute. Stir in chicken broth, beans, and chicken. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in cilantro and cheese and serve.

Makes 3 (1 1/3 cup) servings.

Calories 300
Fat 14
Sodium 1139mg
Carbs 19g
Fiber 4g
Protein 25g

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

1 egg
3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices (I like to peel my eggplant, but that's up to you!)
1 jar (about 24-26 ounces) marinara sauce
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups whole wheat angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions

Preheat the broiler. Line baking sheet with foil. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg. In another shallow bowl, combine the flour and bread crumbs. Dip the eggplant into the egg, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, then in the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides, and place slices on the baking sheet. Broil the eggplant on both sides until well browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. (Be careful, they can burn easily!!) Preheat the over to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Layer the bottom of the pan with the eggplant slices. Cover the slices in marinara sauce then sprinkle cheeses on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve over pasta.

**Two nights ago I went to make this dish. I was really looking forward to it. I pulled out my eggplant, started to slice, and then realized that my eggplant had gone bad! :( So I sent my husband to the store. They were completely out of eggplant. :( So instead I slices 3 medium zucchini the same way I would the eggplant, leaving peels on, but discarding the ends (since they were all peel), and it tasted equally as delicious! So if you can't find eggplant or just don't love it, try it with zucchini!!**

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 365
Fat 11g
Sodium 780mg
Carbs 47g
Fiber 6.5g
Protein 20g

Creamy Broccoli Soup

14 ounce package (or 5 cups) frozen broccoli florets
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
3/4 cup fat free half and half
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 full cup small fresh broccoli florets
1 tbsp lemon juice

Place frozen broccoli, onion, broth, and parsley in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and simmer for 45 minutes, stir occasionally. Remove from heat and uncover. Stir together half and half, milk, and cornstarch until smooth and set aside. Puree hot cooked mixture in blender in small batches (be so careful!) until smooth. Return to pan and and stir in half and half mixture and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes or until broccoli florets are desired tenderness.

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 85
Fat 1.5g
Sodium 1112mg
Carbs 16g
Fiber 2g
Protein 2g

Traditional Taco Soup

**I call it traditional because my mom makes this for the family every year on Halloween. We get back from a cold night of trick or treating and she has warm taco soup waiting for us. She's the best!**

1/2 package taco seasoning (I love the seasoning to be strong so I use the whole package) :)
1 (16 ounce) can pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 (14 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
4 ounces tomato sauce
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 avocado, diced

Saute onions in a medium pot for about 5 minutes. Add beans, seasoning, onion, tomatoes, sauce and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with cheese and avocado.

(Other additional toppings: sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips, etc.)

**If you choose to add meat to this recipe, I have doubled the beans and omitted the beef. So saute 1/2 pound ground beef with the onions, use 8 ounces of beans, and you may or may not want to add a little extra tomato sauce.**

Makes about 6 servings.

Calories 259.5
Fat 11.5g
Sodium 850mg
Carbs 31g
Fiber 9g
Protein 11.5g

Broccoli Cheese Baked Potatoes

2 small/medium red potatoes
1 tsp butter
1 cup cooked broccoli
1 ounce shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash potatoes and wrap in tinfoil. Stab with fork multiple times. Bake for one to two hours depending on the size of your potatoes, until tender when pierced with a fork. When done, unwrap and mash with butter. Top with broccoli, salt and pepper, and cheese.

Makes 1 serving.
**(I generally just make a bunch of potatoes and let my husband and kids put whatever they want on them and I make mine this way. That's why this recipe is only for one serving).**

Calories 349
Fat 14.5g
Sodium 281mg
Carbs 43.5g
Fiber 8.5g
Protein 14.5g

Easy Peasy Vegetable Fried Rice

3 cups cooked brown rice (I use instant)
1 (10 ounce) package mixed vegetables (I used peas and carrots)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 ounces sliced water chestnuts
2 tsp oil (I like to use sesame oil)
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Heat oil on med-high. Stir onion, rice and garlic for 5 minutes. Add seasonings to taste. Reduce heat to medium and add vegetables and water chestnuts. Cook 2 or 3 minutes. Push everything to the side (if using a wok) or in a separate pan cook eggs. Add to rice and vegetable mixture. Remove from heat, sprinkle with soy sauce and stir well.

Makes 5-1 cup servings.

Calories 307
Fat 7g
Sodium 278mg
Carbs 52g
Fiber 4.5g
Protein 9g

Mediteranian White Bean and Squash Saute

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 yellow squash, halved and sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (15 ounce) can white beans (Great Northern or Cannelini)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups brown rice, cooked according to package directions

Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, squash, and seasonings. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 3-5 minutes stirring once. Add beans, tomatoes, and vinegar. Heat to medium and stir for about two minutes. Remove from heat and add Parmesan. Serve over 1/2 cup of rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 346
Fat 7.5g
Sodium 180mg
Carbs 55.5g
Fiber 9.5g
Protein 17g

Awesome Bean and Veggie Enchiladas

1 medium onion, shopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (no sodium added)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 ounce) can Old El Paso Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, split
6 flour tortillas (I prefer to cook up Tortillaland tortillas)

Pre-heat over to 350. Saute onions and bell pepper over medium heat. When soft add tomatoes, corn, beans, and 1/2 of the enchiladas sauce. Heat through. Using half of the shredded cheese layer tortillas with a small amount of cheese and two large serving-sized spoonfuls bean and veggie mixture. Roll up and place in 8x8 pan. Repeat with 6 tortillas. You might have to squash the enchiladas together a bit to make room. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to lightly brown. Delicious plain or topped with salsa, sour cream, guacamole (although it all just adds calories and fat).

Must add, when I double this recipe, I usually do one can pinto and one can black beans. I also do one red and one green bell pepper. And I usually mix cheeses, mozzarella and cheddar. Just for fun. I like it that way. :)

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 432.6
Fat 17g
Sodium 807mg
Carbs 51.5g
Fiber 8g
Protein 19.5g

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

2 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 (14.5) ounce can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles*
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes*
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, grated

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange peppers in a 9x9 inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes to vent and microwave on high for 4 minutes. In a medium saucepan combine tomatoes, green chiles, beans, corn, rice, and seasonings and simmer 3 minutes. Spoon mixture evenly into peppers. Top evenly with cheese and bake until cheese starts to bubble and brown. Top with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!!

*Increase or decrease these ingredients to increase or decrease spiciness.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 288
Fat 5.5g
Sodium 621mg
Carbs 45g
Fiber 12.7g
Sugar 5g
Protein 17g

Tomato Florentine Penne

6 oz whole wheat penne pasta
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 canned, marinated artichoke pieces, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 (14.5) ounce can diced tomatoes, no sodium added
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded

Add a dash of salt and 1 tbsp oil to water and boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in pan over med-high heat. Add onions. When onions begin to brown, add spinach and artichoke hearts. When spinach is wilted, add tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, and garlic powder. When pasta is tender, drain and toss with sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 264
Fat 10g
Sodium 499mg
Carbs 41g
Fiber 7g
Sugar 5g
Protein 8.5g

Traditional French Onion Soup

4 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced (it may seem like way too much, but onions cook down a lot!)
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
black pepper, to taste
3 1/2 ounces whole wheat bread
4 ounces reduced fat Swiss cheese, sliced thin

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a large skillet lightly with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently. Let the onions brown thoroughly. As they cook and caramelize, stir well to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning.

While the onions are cooking cut the bread into 1 inch squares. Place them on a cookie sheet and put the bread in the preheated oven. Let them cook for about 5 - 10 minutes until toasted. Remove from the oven.

When the onions are soft and well browned add the vegetable broth and pepper. Stir well scraping all the brown from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low.

Divide the toasted bread between 4 bowls. Divide the onions and soup between the bowls. Top the soup with the sliced Swiss cheese. Place the bowls in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and very slightly browned. If your bowls are not oven safe (mine aren't), either wait a minute and allow the cheese to melt on it's own or you can pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to speed things along.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 247
Fat 9.5g
Sodium 643mg
Carbs 29.5g
Fiber 4.5g
Sugar 1g
Protein 12g

Egg Salad Pita

2 eggs
1 celery stalk, chopped
1-2 tbsp chopped onion (depending on how much you like onion)
2 tsp relish
2 tsp light mayo
0.5 tsp Dijon mustard
pepper to taste
paprika to taste
1 6-inch whole wheat pita
1 leaf romaine lettuce, shredded

Hard boil eggs for about 20 minutes. Remove shells. Remove yoke of one egg. Mash eggs in a bowl. Stir in relish, mayo, and mustard. Mix in celery and onion. Season with pepper and paprika.

I like to cut off just the top of my pita to make stuffing it easier. Stuff with romaine and egg mixture.

Makes 1 serving.

Calories 326.5
Fat 10.5g
Sodium 684mg
Carbs 44g
Fiber 6.5g
Sugar 1g
Protein 17.5g

Lime Guacamole

1 avocado
juice of 1/2 lime
dash salt
sash pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder (to taste)
cilantro to taste
1 Roma tomato, chopped
2 tbsp chopped onion

Mash avocado with seasonings and lime juice. Stir in tomato and onion. Serve on quesadillas, burritos, etc or with tortilla chips.

Makes 6 (1/8 cup) servings.

Calories 52.5
Fat 4.5g
Sodium 29mg
Carbs 3.5g
Fiber 2g
Sugar 0.1g
Protein 0.7g

Veggie Quesadilla

1 TortillaLand uncooked flour tortilla (8-inch)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
5 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Saute mushrooms. When mushrooms begin to brown, add spinach and beans. Cook one side of tortilla on a griddle and remove. When spinach is wilted and beans are warm, put them on the cooked side of the tortilla. Sprinkle cheese and fold tortilla in half. Place back on griddle until cooked and flip. Serve with Lime Guacamole!!

Makes 1 serving.

Calories 295.5
Fat 9g
Sodium 370mg
Carbs 38g
Fiber 5.5g
Sugar 2g
Protein 17g

Quick and Easy Meatless Chili

1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 cup frozen corn
1 package Lawry's chili seasoning
3 cups water
6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Saute onions and bell peppers. When onions are soft, add remaining ingredients, except for cheese. Simmer about 30 minutes. Top with grated cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 340
Fat 11g
Sodium 988mg
Carbs 45.5g
Fiber 13.4g
Sugar 4.5g
Protein 18.5g

Veggie Pesto Pasta

8 ounces whole wheat thin spaghetti
2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 can diced tomatoes (no sodium added), drained
1 small onion, chopped
4 tbsp pesto sauce
4 ounces shredded part skim mozzarella

Add pasta to boiling water. While pasta is cooking, saute onions in non stick cooking spray. When onions are just beginning to brown add zucchini. When zucchini begins to brown add tomatoes. When pasta is done, drain and put back in pot. Add veggies. Stir in pesto sauce. Top with cheese and enjoy!!

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 217
Fat 8g
Sodium 249 mg
Carbs 31g
Fiber 5g
Sugar 1g
Protein 9.5g

Delicious and Easy Vegetable Soup

1 package onion soup mix (or 4 tbsp)
5 cups water
2 stalks celery, sliced
10 baby carrots, sliced
6 medium mushrooms, sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 medium onion, chopped

I cut my veggies a little thicker. I like them that way, but it takes a little longer to cook. The thinner the veggies, the less cooking time. Throw everything into a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until veggies are desired tenderness.

Makes 6 servings.

Calories 69.5
Fat 1g
Sodium 412.3mg
Carbs 14g
Fiber 2.5g
Sugar 1.5g
Protein 2.3g

Greek Pita Bake

1 whole wheat pita (6 inch)
1/2 tbsp pesto
1/2 chopped tomato (Roma is best, but any will work)
1/3 cup spinach, chopped
1 medium button mushroom, sliced
1 tbsp grated mozzarella
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
black pepper to taste

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Spread the pesto on your pita and place, pesto side up, on a baking sheet. Top with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheeses. Drizzle with olive oil and season with pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until pita is crisp. Makes a great lunch or cut into triangles and serve as an appetizer!!

Makes 1 serving. (Nutritional data refers to the entire pita, so if you cut into triangles for an appetizer, you'll need to adjust the numbers).

Calories 314
Fat 13g
Sodium 575mg
Carbs 39g
Fiber 6g
Sugar 2g
Protein 13g

Red Potatoes with Kale

4 red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp sesame oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 bunch kale, rinsed, torn into pieces, tough stems removed
2 tbsp water
5 tsp soy sauce

Steam the potatoes in boiling water until just tender when pierced with a fork. Rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside. In a large non-stick skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked potatoes, pepper and paprika and cook over medium-high heat, turning gently with a spatula for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown. Spread the kale across the top of the potato mixture, then sprinkle with water and soy sauce. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, for about 7 minutes, or until the kale is tender.

Makes about 4 main dish servings or 8 side dish servings. (Nutritional Facts based on main dish servings.)

Calories 174
Fat 2g
Sodium 414mg
Cabrs 35.5g
Fiber 6g
Sugar 3.5g
Protein 6.5g

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

3/4 cup oatmeal (use old fashioned oats, not instant!)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground flax seeds (found near vitamins and supplements)
1/4 - 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk
4 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup whipped cream

Preheat griddle (medium-high heat) ad spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Gradually blend in the soy milk. When well blended stir in blueberries. Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake. When pancakes are bubbly, flip. These are not the pancakes you're probably used to. They are heavier (due to the whole wheat flour) and darker. But still completely delicious! Top each serving with 2 tbsp whipped cream and 1 cup strawberries.

Makes 4 servings of 2 pancakes.

Calories 315
Fat 11g
Sodium 726mg
Carbs 49g
Fiber 10g
Sugar 14g
Protein 10g

Pan-Grilled Vegetable "Panini"

Traditional panini uses focaccia, ciabatta, or other crusty artisan bread which are fairly unhealthy. I've just replaced the bread with a more healthy choice so that I can enjoy the delicious flavors without the guilt. :)

2 thin slices of whole wheat bread, toasted
1/2 tbsp traditional basil pesto
1 ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 thin slices onion (red or white)
1/4 bell pepper (I prefer red or yellow), sliced into strips
1/4 cup zucchini, sliced
4 medium mushrooms, sliced
2-3 pieces marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup alfalfa spouts
splash balsamic vinegar

Spread basil pesto as thinly as you can on both slices of toast. Top with cheese. Over medium-high heat pan grill zucchini and bell peppers in non-stick cooking spray about 4-5 minutes, making sure to flip zucchini slices. Place on cheese. Next, in the same pan grill onions. When they start to brown, add mushrooms. When those start to brown, add artichoke hearts. After 1-2 minutes, layer these on sandwich. Again in the same pan cook spinach. Stir frequently to avoid burning. When wilted, place on sandwich. Close sandwich and place in sandwich or panini maker for 1 minute. Remove sandwich and add spouts and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!!

Makes 1 yummy sandwich! Although it is very filling. You could easily split this and add some fruit or a side salad for a light lunch.

Calories 425.5
Fat 17.5g
Sodium 674mg
Carbs 52g
Fiber 8g
Sugar 2.5g
Protein 20g

Homemade Hummus

1-15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed butter, found in the ethnic foods section of your grocery store)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 small garlic cloves (use more if you like more bite)
1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp horseradish (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Spread on tortillas, sandwiches, or whole wheat pita bread or dip fresh veggies and pita triangles.

Makes 8-1/4 cup servings.

Calories 84.5
Fat 2g
Sodium 223.5mg
Carbs 15g
Fiber 3g
Sugar 0.1g
Protein 3.5g

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

Parfait can be pretty unhealthy depending on what kinds of yogurt and granola you use, so be picky!!

1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
2 fresh strawberries, sliced
2 tbsp of low-fat granola with or without raisins
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Splenda

Pour 1/2 cup of non-fat plain yogurt in a dish and mix in the vanilla and splenda. Top with the low fat granola and the strawberries and ENJOY! You can use other berries or fruits instead of strawberries.

Makes 1 serving.

Calories 85
Fat 2g
Sodium 86mg
Carbs 10.5g
Fiber 0.6g
Sugar 9g
Protein 6.5g

Black Bean and Avacado Salsa

1-15 ounce can corn, drained
1-15 ounce can black beans, drained
1-8 ounce can sliced olives, drained
1 cup fat free Italian dressing ( bottled or made from a mix)
3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
2-3 avocados, diced
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, to taste

Mix everything together except for avocados & tomatoes. Chill for 2-3 hours. Add avocados & tomatoes just before serving. Serve with tortilla chips, pita bread, tortillas, or on salad.

Makes 12 servings.

Calories 148
Fat 7.5g
Sodium 500mg
Carbs 18g
Fiber 6.5g
Sugar 1.5g
Protein 4.5

Mexican Pita Pizza

1-6 inch whole wheat pita bread
1 tbsp spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, pizza sauce (whatever you have around)
2 tbsp diced green chiles
1/4 cup pinto or black beans
1/4 cup sliced and quartered zucchini
1 ounce grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer ingredients on pita bread. Cook until cheese is melted. This is very filling! You could use salsa instead of pizza sauce, or top with olives, meat, or any other veggies.

Makes 1 serving.

Calories 303
Fat 5g
Sodium 702mg
Carbs 52g
Fiber 10g
Protein 15g

Creamy Italian White Bean Soup

This is really yummy with some good Italian bread on the side, although whole wheat is slightly healthier. I feel like I'm getting a healthy version of Olive Garden when I have this soup with a side salad! And it makes great leftovers.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2-16 ounce cans white kidney or
cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1-14 ounce can chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups water or more vegetable or chicken broth
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook the onions and celery in oil until tender in a medium pot. Add garlic.
Stir in beans, broth, pepper, thyme and 2 cups water or additional broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 15 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove 2 cups of the bean and vegetable mixture from soup and set aside. In blender at low speed, blend remaining soup in small batches until smooth, (it helps to remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape, but be careful not to burn yourself!!). Once blended pour soup back into pot and stir in reserved beans. Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 248
Fat 5.5
Sodium 957mg
Carbs 38g
Fiber 12g
Sugar 0g
Protein 12g

Spicy Bean Dip

1-15 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed (any beans work, pinto are just my favorite for this recipe)
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
a pinch of cumin
canned diced green chiles to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Blend beans with water until smooth. Start with 1/4 cup water and add more if it's too thick for your blender or food processor. Mix in the spices. Dip sliced assorted veggies. A lot of the time I'll dip lots of fresh veggies and some whole wheat pita bread triangles and call it a full meal. It's a good source of protein and fiber and is super filling!

Suggested dipping vegetables: broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.

Makes 4-1/2 cup servings.

Calories 117
Fat 0.5g
Sodium 203mg
Carbs 22g
Fiber 7.5g
Sugar 0g
Protein 7g

Veggie Wraps

I LOVE this with lunch, especially in the summer. I'll usually just have it with a piece of fruit and it fills me up quick!

1 TortillaLand Uncooked Flour Tortilla
1/2 a red bell pepper, sliced
1 large tomato slice, cut into strips
1 thin slice of red onion
1/2 cup romaine lettuce or spinach (or both, just whatever leafy green I have on hand)
1/4 cup cucumber, peeled, sliced and quartered
1 tbsp low fat or whipped cream cheese, slightly softened for spreading
salt and pepper to taste

Cook up the tortilla (you can use any tortilla or wrap; these are just my very favorite thing in the world!). Spread cream cheese down the center. Fill with veggies, wrap up like a burrito and enjoy! I usually have this with a piece of fruit or something. And you can add deli meat or cheese or other veggies. This is one of my very favorite things to eat!

Makes 1 serving.

Calories 206.5
Fat 8g
Sodium 246mg
Carbs 30g
Fiber 2.3g
Sugar 0.5g
Protein 5.2g

Veggie "Omelet"

(This particular day I used all egg whites and added a little chopped tomato to the veggies.)

I call this an "omelet", but I'm a TERRIBLE omelet maker! So it's basically just scrambled eggs and veggies. :)

1 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup copped mushrooms
1 whole egg*
2 egg whites
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Scrambled the eggs with desired seasonings. Saute the onion and mushrooms with some non-stick cooking spray. When the onions are soft and the mushrooms are starting to brown add the spinach. Once it's wilted, add the eggs. When the eggs are cooked, sprinkle with cheese and enjoy! Sometimes I'll put salsa on this too. So yummy!!

Makes 1 serving.

*I used to use the whole egg until I realized that I like plain egg whites just fine. Now I use three egg whites and I don't even notice the difference. And the egg whites are fat free!!

Calories 157
Fat 7g
Sodium 292mg (without added salt)
Carbs 6g
Fiber 1.5g
Sugar 0.5g
Protein 18g

Kiwi Berry Smoothie

1/2 cup fresh spinach
1 small kiwi fruit
4 strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk

Blend the milk and spinach. Add in the strawberries and kiwi. Last, add the frozen blueberries. You can always add a little more soy milk if it's too thick. Or more frozen berries if it's too thin! Don't worry, the spinach taste will be completely covered by the fruit and soy milk. If the spinach taste bothers you at all, add a little Splenda.

Makes 1 serving.

Calories 129
Fat 2g
Sodium 41mg
Carbs 27g
Fiber 6g
Sugar 8g
Protein 3.5g