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