Zucchini Parmesan (low fat)

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Adapted from NYT Cooking.

This is a delicious, low fat, crowd pleasing dish that will make a zucchini lover out of anyone. Serve alongside pasta to make it a complete meal.

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 1-28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes (preferably SM brand pictured below)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

For the Zucchini

  • 2 to 2¼ pounds zucchini
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

For the sauce:

  1. To make tomato sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and basil sprigs. Increase heat to medium-high. When tomatoes are bubbling briskly, stir and simmer about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

For the zucchini

  1. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment.
  2. Trim ends off zucchini and cut in half crosswise, then into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.
  3. Place sliced zucchini in a bowl and toss with olive oil.
  4. Arrange zucchini slices on baking sheets in one layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the underside and tender (it’s ok if it doesn’t get browned).
  6. Remove zucchini from oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.

To assemble:

  1. Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce over bottom of dish.
  2. Arrange a third of the zucchini in an even layer over tomato sauce.
  3. Spoon a third of remaining sauce over zucchini.
  4. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  5. Repeat with 2 more layers, ending with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  6. Drizzle on little bit of olive oil. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned on the top and edges.
  7. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
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This is my favorite brand for canned tomatoes

Vanilla Custard Oatmeal

Cooking oats with milk and a tempered egg completely transforms an ordinary bowl of oatmeal.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, milk, oats, and salt to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and cook until hot.
  3. Meanwhile, beat an egg and temper it by adding a bit of the hot oatmeal into the bowl with the egg and mix well. Add a bit more hot oatmeal to the egg and then pour the egg mixture into the pot with the oatmeal.
  4. Once oatmeal has reached desired consistency after at least 10 minutes, remove from heat, stir in vanilla and butter, and let stand 2 minutes before serving.
  5. I like to top mine with a chopped date, pecans or walnuts, brown sugar, and a drizzle of cold milk.

Baked Oatmeal Cups

I absolutely love this recipe for baked oatmeal cups! They are totally delicious and incredibly versatile. You can eat them on the go as you would a muffin, or enjoy them hot out of the oven, in a bowl with milk and fruit.

Ingredients

A note about the sugar content –
When refrigerated, these muffins taste perfectly sweet. When they are hot, they tastes almost completely unsweetened.
To serve hot, place one or two muffins in a bowl and break them up. Top with brown sugar or maple syrup, raisins, and a drizzle of milk. Enjoy as you would any other ordinary bowl of oatmeal.
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries or chopped apple or 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup almonds, pecans or other

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with butter, oil, or cooking spray.
  2. Mix all the ingredients, except blueberries and nuts, in a bowl.
  3. Fold in the blueberries or mix in chocolate chips.
  4. Fill muffin cups all the way to the top.
  5. Sprinkle nuts on top (or any toppings desired).
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
  7. Cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack.
  8. Store in the refrigerator.

Buttermilk Crepes

Recipe from World of Crepes.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp of melted butter 
  • 1¼ cups of buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp of salt

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender and mix until well-blended. 
  2. You may also combine them by hand. If combining by hand, mix the eggs and milk separately and combine slowly with the dry ingredients. Mix in the melted butter last. 
  3. Important: Refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes. This gives the batter the opportunity to rest and fully come together. 

Yield: 10 8-inch or 12 6-inch crepes 


Mediterranean Farro Salad with Chickpeas

This is a delicious, nutritious, and hearty salad that lasts for days in the fridge.

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Farro Tabbouleh with Feta.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, halved, seeded, and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (if you like parsley, use the entire bunch)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 6 ounces feta, 1/2-inch diced-not crumbled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • Pitted Kalamata olives, drained

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the farro and place it in a large saucepan with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain. I highly recommend cooking farro the way it is prepared in Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers, chickpeas, scallions, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. 
  3. Drain the farro and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the warm farro to the vegetables and herbs and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Carefully stir in the feta and olives.

*I have found with most beans and grain salads that much less oil is needed in the dressing than typical green salads. Therefor typical oil to acid ratios don’t apply.


Blue Zones Kitchen Black Eyed Pea Salad with Mint & Onions

Adapted from The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound black-eyed peas (or four 15-ounce cans, drained) (pinto or white beans work well too)
  • 3 green onions, tops removed and coarsely chopped (I chop the tops as well)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated (I like using 2 carrots)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup greens like spinach, baby kale, or sweet dandelion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (at least 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Dill (optional for garnish)
  • Juice of 2 lemon (my addition – I don’t think the vinegar adds nearly enough acid so I like to add lemon juice)
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped (my addition)
  • 1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped (my addition)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (my addition)

Directions

  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid, tilting lid slightly to let some steam escape.
  2. Cook for an hour, or until peas are tender.
  3. While peas are still hot, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. If using canned black-eyed peas, just drain, rinse, and heat on a stovetop over medium heat with all other ingredients until warmed through (5-6 minutes). (I usually use canned beans and don’t bother heating them).
  5. Garnish with dill, if using.
  6. Serve warm or cold.


Soba Noodles with Swiss Chard

This is a simple, nutritions, and surprisingly delicious dish that comes together in about 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 servings Soba noodles, 110g (I like Eden Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 medium bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken (or vegetable flavor)
  • Freshly cracked pepper 
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Cook soba noodles according to package.
  2. Drain the soba noodles, reserving a little cooking water.
  3. Optional: Stir the noodles with a little butter and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a little oil or butter in a large saucepan or pot.
  5. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add bouillon and 1/4 water and stir.
  7. Add chard and cook until soft and wilted, approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Add the chard and soy sauce to the noodles and toss well. If the noodles seem dry, add a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid.


Kettner Exchange Kale Salad {Copycat}

The kale salad at San Diego’s Kettner Exchange is arguably the best kale salad in town. I was so pleased with myself when I made a version that tasted just like it! This salad will make a kale lover out of anyone.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch curly kale (Kettner uses purple kale)
  • 1/2 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup Marcona almonds (or sliced roasted almonds)
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (Kettner Exchange uses lemon-flavored olive oil and probably uses double this amount. I prefer it a little more acidic)
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey (I like clover honey for salad dressing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash of red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper or place in a jar and shake well.
  2. Shred the kale as finely as possible. Place in a salad bowl and gently massage the kale with your hands until it starts to break down.
  3. Add the apples, almonds, raisins, parmesan, and dressing, and toss well to combine.
  4. Allow to sit 5 minutes and toss again.


Whole Wheat Orzo Risotto with Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts (low-fat)

Inspired by Ellie Krieger’s Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta. I love the way she cooks the orzo in minimal liquid. It adds a yummy creaminess.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth
  • 12 large raw shrimp (21-30 count)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Spices – Whatever you like -I like to use lemon pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided), more for drizzling 
  • Parmesan or feta cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Place fresh or frozen shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle each piece with preferred spices.
  3. Cook for a minute or two and then flip the shrimp. Cook on the second side until pink and no longer translucent. Remove to serving plate.
  4. To the skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and artichoke hearts and cook for a minute or two until artichokes are slightly browned.
  5. Add the orzo, water/broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and stir; continue to cook 3 more minutes or until tender and all liquid is absorbed. If the orzo is still firm, add a bit more water and cook until tender.
  7. Turn off the heat, stir in greens and a squeeze some lemon juice. Toss until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
  8. Stir in the shrimp to heat them up a bit, and serve.
  9. Sprinkle with feta or parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Trader Joe’s Lentil Salad

Made from ready-to-eat items from Trader Joe’s, this is a quick, delicious, and healthy salad that holds up for days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta Sauce (refrigerated)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (refrigerated)
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • Basil (optional)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine entire packages of lentils and bruschetta sauce.
  2. To serve – lay a bed of baby spinach onto the bottom of a bowl. Top with a scoop of lentils and garnish with feta cheese and torn basil.