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