Monday, November 10, 2008

Mixed Berry Granola Cobbler


2 Cups Low Fat Granola
1/2 Cup 1% Low Fat Milk
2-12oz Packages Frozen Mixed Berries
1/4 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Cornstarch
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Orange Zest
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
Non-Stick Vegetable Cooking Spray
Plain Fat Free Yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together granola and milk in a shallow bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Toss together berries and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon berry mixture into a 8-inch square baking dish. Stir granola mixture, and spoon over berry mixture. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until bubbly. Serve with yogurt.

Peach Cobbler: Substitute 1-20 oz package of frozen slices peaches for frozen mixed berries and follow recipe.

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Whole Grain Marshmellow Crispy Bars

3 Tbsp Butter (or Smart Balance Butter Substitute)
1-10.5 oz Bag Miniature Marshmellows
1-15 oz Box Kashi GoLean Crunch Cereal
1 1/2 Cups Dried Cranberries, divided
Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmellows, and cook, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes or until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and 1 cup dried cranberries until well coated. Press mixture into a 13 x 9 ince baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray. Chop remaining 1/4 cup dried cranberries, and sprinkle on top. Let stand 10-15 minutes or until firm. Cut into 24 bars.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Southwest White Bean Spread


1 Garlic Clove
1- 15.5oz Can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 Cup Loosely Packed Fresh Cilantro Leaves
3 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
Salt to Taste
Sides (Pita Chips, Cucumber Slices, etc)

Pulse garlic, next 5 ingredients, and 2 tbsp water in food processor 3 or 4 times until combined; process 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Add salt to taste. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. Serve with pita chips, cucumbers, olives, etc.

Photo by: William Dickey

Blueberry Bread

1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/8 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Butter, melted
2 Large Eggs
1 Tsp Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in blueberries. Whisk together sugar and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl until thoroughly blended. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour batter into lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Quick Turkey Chili


1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 lb. Ground Turkey
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 Tsp Ground Cumin
3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1- 28oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1- 16oz Can Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Cup Beer (Chicken Broth can be as substitute)
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Saute chopped onion in hot oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender; add garlic, and saute 1 minute. Add turkey, chili powder and cumin. Cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro.
Photo by: Beth Hontzas

French Onion Soup

2 Large Sweet Onions, thinly sliced
1 Cup Dry Red Wine
1- 14.5oz Cans Beef Broth
2 Cups Seasoned Croutons
4 Slices Swiss Cheese, sliced thick

In a deep skillet, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened, about 15 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Pour in the beef broth, lower the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes; season with pepper. Preheat the broiler. Divide the soup among 4 ovenproof bowls, then top each one with one-quarter of the coutons and a slice of cheese. Set the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, about 1 minute.

Tuna and Tomato Pasta

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves Chopped
1 cup Flat Leaf Parsley
1- 28oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
4 Tbsp Butter (substitute with Smart Balance)
1-6oz Can Chunk Light Tuna in Water, Drained
1-1lb Box Barilla Plus Pasta Shells (or like noodle)

In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 Tbsp parsley and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover over low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the butter, then stir in tuna. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente; drain. Add pasta to the tuna sauce and tir in 3/4 of the remaining parsley; season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining parsley.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Fingers

6 Chicken Breasts (each breasts cut into 3 to 4 pieces)
2 Large Eggs
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
3 Cups Pretzels (coarsely ground)
2 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
Dipping Sauce:
1/2 Cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 Cup Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In large shallow bowl combine eggs with 1 tsp dijon mustard. Whisk to blend. Combine crushed pretzels, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder on a plate. Stir to blend. Dip breasts in pretzel mixture, egg mixture, then back in pretzel mixture. Place breast pieces on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until breasts are lightly browned and internal tempperature reaches 170 degrees or about 20-30 minutes. Flip breasts after 15 minutes of cooking time. Remove from oven. Serve immediately with mustard sauce.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cholesterol Awareness Quiz

1. It is important to know my cholesterol numbers because:
a) they help predict my chances of having a heart attack;
b) I may be asked to remember them on a game show;
c) heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States.

2. Which of these are major risk factors for heart disease?
a) smoking;
b) diabetes;
c) high blood pressure;
d) Listening to the presidential debates.

3. HDL and LDL are:
a) secret government codes;
b) cholesterol particles in our blood that help predict the health of our heart and arteries;
c) substances known as "lipoproteins."

4. HDL cholesterol is:
a) "healthful";
b) best if "high";
c) a blessing to heart health.

5. HDL cholesterol is improved with:
a) star-gazing;
b) sleep;
c) exercise.

6. LDL cholesterol is:
a) "lousy";
b) best if "low,"
c) apt to become oxidized and clog arteries.

7. A diet that can decrease LDL cholesterol is:
a) high in soluble fiber;
b) low in saturated fat;
c) not likely to be found in a trick-or-treat bag.

8. Which of these foods are good sources of soluble fiber?
a) dried peas and beans;
b) oats;
c) Hot Cheetos.

9. Researchers recommend "TLC" to reduce our risk for heart disease. TLC stands for:
a) Tender Loving Care;
b) Treat Lipoproteins Carefully;
c) Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes.

10. Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes to lower LDL cholesterol include:
a) running a marathon;
b) eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol;
c) weight loss;
d) 30 minutes of physical exercise most days.

11. Foods low in saturated fat include:
a) fruit ;
b) nuts;
c) double bacon cheeseburgers.

12. Examples of how to eat less saturated fat include:
a) snack on nuts instead of cheese;
b) use olive oil instead of butter;
c) skip the hot dog.

13. Stanols and sterols are:
a) interesting names for twins;
b) substances naturally present in plants that can lower blood cholesterol;
c) added to some foods such as margarine and orange juice.

14. Thirty minutes of regular physical exercise on most days can:
a) lower bad LDL cholesterol;
b) raise good HDL cholesterol;
c) make your heart muscle work more efficiently.

15. True or False: My day-to-day eating and exercise habits can help or hurt my heart.

ANSWERS: (1) a,c (2) a,b,c (3) b,c (4) all correct (5) c (6) all correct (7) all correct (8) a,b (9) c (10) b,c,d (11) a,b (12) all correct (13) b,c (14) all correct (15) true

Author: Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Originally printed in the Monterey County Herald.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sweet Potato Bake

3 lbs. Sweet Potatoes (peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks)
1/3 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 cup Evaporated Milk
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter (cut into pieces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch baking dish. Place potatoes and 1 tsp salt in a large pot and cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook unitl potatoes are tender, 15 minutes. Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl and whip with an electric mixer until smooth and light. Add sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp butter; beat until smooth. Pour sweet potato mixture into prepared dish and bake until golden and slightly puffed, 35-40 minutes, then serve warm.

Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry

3/4 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sugar
1 1/2 tp Cornstarch
1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp Grated Ginger
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
4 Scallions Sliced (green and whites divided)
1 Small Red Pepper (seeded and cut into strips)
6oz. Snow Peas (trimmed)
1/2 cup Chopped, Roasted and Salted Cashews

Whisk together broth, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Place chicken in separate bowl. Pour half of marinade over chicken and add crushed red pepper; stir. Set aside remaining marinade. Cover and chill chicken for 15 minutes. Warm large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade), add chicken to skillet and stir fry until cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Add half of ginger, garlic and white parts of scallions and cook 1 minute. Transfer to a plate. Add remaining oil to skillet. Stir fry peppers, peas, and remaining ginger, garlic and white parts of scallions until cooked through, 2 minutes. Return chicken to skillet; add reserved marinade and salt. Asute 1 to 2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Top with cashews and scallion greens.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spicy Pumpkin Soup


2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion-chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger-minced
1 Small Jalapeno Chili-seeded and finely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves-minced
1 Tsp. Lime Zest
1-15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree
1-13.5 oz Can Light Coconut Milk-shaken
4 Cups Canned Low-Sodium Chicken Broth

In a pan, warm oil over medium-low heat. Saute' onion and ginger until soft, 8 minutes. Do not let brown. Add jalapeno and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in lime zest, pumpkin, coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, then puree in blender. Serve hot.

Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Cake

4 Large Eggs- room temperature
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Cups Canned Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Heavy Cream

(Cake) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch Bundt cake pan. Set aside. Beat eggs and sugar until blended. Beat in oil. Sift flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt into egg mixture. Fold in dry ingredients and pumpkin puree. Pour batter into pan and bake until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
(Glaze) Place chocolate and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl. In a pan, warm cream over medium heat until it simmers. Pour cream over chocolate, let stand one minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Place cake on rack over a baking sheet. Drizzle glaze over cake. Let sit until set.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MRSA: Information for Coaches and Athletes

An increasing number of outbreaks of skin infections on sports teams caused by Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”) bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics have been reported. These resistant strains of staph are known as “MRSA” (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

What is staph skin infection?
Staph bacteria are often found in the noses and on the skin of people. Most of the time staph carried in the nose or on the skin does not cause infection and when it does, it usually causes minor infections, such as boils or abscesses. However, sometimes staph can cause more serious infections such as pneumonia, joint, and bloodstream infections. Staph infections often begin when staph bacteria enter the body through an injury to the skin. Symptoms of a staph skin infection include redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness of the skin, and boils or blisters.

How do staph infections spread?
The cleanest person can get a staph infection. Staph can rub off the skin of an infected person and onto the skin of another person when they have skin-to-skin contact. Staph from an infected person can also get onto a commonly shared item or surface, and then get onto the skin of the person who touches it next. Examples of commonly shared items are towels, benches in saunas or hot tubs, and athletic equipment- in other words, anything that could have touched the skin of a staph infected person can carry the bacteria to the skin of another person.

What can be done to prevent infection among athletes?
Athletes should clean their hands and skin often. They should avoid skin-to-skin contact with anyone suspected of having a staph skin infection. Athletes should not share personal items (e.g., razors, towels, etc.) with other persons and should keep towels and clothes clean. Items that are shared with other people (e.g., towels, razors, athletic equipment) should be cleaned before reuse by another person.

What should I do if I think an athlete has a skin infection?
If you suspect that an athlete might have a staph skin infection, have them consult their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early treatment can help prevent the infection from getting worse. The athlete should be sure to follow all the directions the healthcare provider gives, including taking all of the doses of any prescribed antibiotic.

If an athlete is diagnosed with an MRSA skin infection what should be done?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed the following recommendations for controlling MRSA outbreaks on sports teams:
1) Cover all wounds. If a wound cannot be covered adequately, consider excluding players with potentially infectious skin lesions from practice or competitions until the lesions are healed or can be covered adequately.
2) Encourage good hygiene, including showering and washing with soap after all practices and competitions.
3) Ensure availability of adequate soap and hot water.
4) Discourage sharing of towels and personal items (e.g., clothing or equipment)
5) Establish a routine cleaning schedule for all shared equipment.
6) Train athletes and coaches in first aid for wounds and recognition of wounds that are possibly infected.

Information provided by: Los Angeles Department of Health Services Public Health

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shrimp and Spaghetti in Coconut Broth


2-13.5 oz Cans Coconut Milk
1-14.5 oz Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Asian Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Finely Chopped Garlic
2 tsp Finely Chopped Ginger
2 tsp Hot Chili Sauce
1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice
2-2 lb Bags Frozen, Raw Shrimp (31-40 per pound)-thawed and tails removed
1 Bunch Cilantro Coarsely Chopped
1 1/2 pounds Spaghetti (Barilla Plus)

In a large deep skillet, bring the coconut milk and chicken broth to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook until opaque, about 4 minutes. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente; drain. Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the skillet of shrimp.

Salsa Fresca


1 cup Packed Coarsely Chopped Cilantro
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Onion, Coarsely Chopped
1 Jalapeno Chile- halved lengthwise
2 1/2 lbs Ripe Tomatoes (7 or 8)- cored and quartered
Juice of 1 Lime

Using a food processor, pulse the cilantro and garlic together for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides, add the onion and jalapeno and pulse until finely chopped; transfer to a medium bowl. Working in batches, add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the cilantro mixture. Stir in the lime juice; season with salt.

photo: hector manuel sanchez

Pasta with Ricotta and Edamame


1 15oz. Container of Low Fat Ricotta
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
1 lb. Fusilli or Other Short Pasta (Barilla Plus Pasta)
2 cups Frozen Shelled Edamame
1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Mint
Optional- 1/2 cup Roasted Red Peppers

Stir together ricotta, parmesan and salt in large bowl. Bring pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente. Add edamame to pot for the final minute of cooking time. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain the pasta and edamame. Add pasta to bowl with cheese mixture along with 1/2 cup cooking water and stir. If mixture is too dry, add more water 1 tbsp at a time until creamy. Stir in mint, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mushroom and Spinach Toss


16 oz. Package Barilla Plus Pasta (Penne, Rotini)
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
8oz. Package Sliced Fresh Muchrooms
1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil (Drained and Coarsley Chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
6 oz. Package Fresh Baby Spinach (Washed)
3/4 tsp Salt (optional)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/3 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese


Prepare pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange pine nuts in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Melt butter with oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, and suate 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown and most of the liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to medium, and add tomatoes and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in wine, and cook 30 seconds, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Stir in hot cooked pasta and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. Serve.

Crunchy Chicken Tenders


2 lbs. Chicken Tenders or Breasts Sliced Into Strips
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Low Fat Mayonnaise
6 cups Cornflakes


Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, salt, pepper, mustard, and mayonnaise. The make the coating, pulse the cornflakes in a food processor about 10 times, or place the flakes in a sealed bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer the crushed flakes to a large, shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken in the cornflakes and arrange the pieces on a rack over a baking sheet. Be sure to space the pieces an inch or so apart for even cooking and browning. Bake the chicken for 15 minutes or until the tenders are cooked through and crispy on the outside. They will crispen even more as they cool.

Lemon Veggies and Pasta


16 oz. package Barilla Plus Pasta
1 small Onion (Chopped)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3/4 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 tsp Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup Fresh Snow Peas
1 cup Matchstick Carrots
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil (Chopped)
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 tsp. Fresh Thyme (Chopped)
3/4 tsp Salt (optional)
1/4 Freshly Ground Pepper


Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, saute onion in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in chicken broth and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil, Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in hot cooked pasta, basil, butter and thyme. Cook stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper.

Chicken Chili Cheese Cups


2 Eggs
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1 cup Cooked Chicken (Finely Diced)
1-4oz can Diced Green Chilis
2 Tbsp Cilantro (Finely Chopped)
1/2 cup Monterey Jack Shredded Cheese
30 Mini Phyllo Shells


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, toss together the chicken, chilies, cilantro, and cheese. Place phyllo shells on a baking sheet lines with parchment paper. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon of chicken filling into each shell, then add about 1 teaspoon of the egg mixture. Let the shells sit for about a minute so the egg mixture can settle to the bottom. Then add another teaspoon of egg to each shell, filling it close to the top. Bake the cups until the custard is set, about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

French Onion Bread Soup


2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 lbs. Onions, thinly sliced
1 small Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Dried Thyme or herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
2 cups Beef Broth
1/2 Baguette, cut into small cubes
2 cups Shredded Gruyere Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper, lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook for 3 minutes. Add the beef broth, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan. Divide half of the bread cubes among 4 small overproof bowls and cover each with 1/4 cup cheese. Divide the soup among the bowls, then top with remaining bread and cheese. Set the bowls on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 10 minutes.

Bayou Shrimp Stew


6 Tbsp Butter (can use Smart Balance as Substitute)
6 Cloves Garlic, chopped
3/4 cup Bread Crumbs
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper
12 oz. Andouille Sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 Onions, finely chopped
1 Yellow Pepper, chopped
1/3 cup Flour
1 cup Frozen Edamame
2- 12oz cans White Beans, rinsed
2 lbs. Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined

In medium skillet, melt 4 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add half the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs, 1 tsp herbes de Provence, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Remove from heat. In a dutch oven, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes; transfer to plate. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter, remaining garlic and 1 tsp of herbes de Provence , the onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually stir in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Add the sausage and edamame and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the white beans and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until firm and opaque, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the seasoned crumbs over each portion.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Poor Man's Gumbo


12 Slices Bacon (about 1/2 pound)
2 Ribs Celery, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
1-14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1-12 oz. can Solid White Tuna Packed in Water
1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
1 Jalapeno Chile, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. Zatarain's
1 1/4 Cup Rice


In large, heavy skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain off all but 1/4 cup bacon fat and return the skillet to the heat. Add celery and onion an dcook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tuna and its liquid, tomato paste, jalapeno and 1 cup of water and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the Zatarain's powder and remove from heat. In medium saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups salted water to a boil. Stir in rice and cover, lower the heat until the water in absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve the gumbo over rice and crumble the bacon on top.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sausage and Roasted Pepper Pasta


1 lb. Penne Pasta (Whole Wheat or Omega Enhanced Variety)
1 1/4 cups Broccoli Florets
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 links Hot or Sweet Turkey Sausage
1 cup Chopped Jarred Roasted Red Bell Peppers
2 tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp. Hot Red Pepper Flakes


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package label directions, adding broccoli for last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain well in a colander. In a medium nonstick skillet warm 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, turning frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through. Transfer sausage to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut sausage crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Return pasta and broccoli to cooking pot and add sausage, roasted peppers, remaining olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper flakes. Toss to combine well; serve hot.

Tortellini with Ham and Peas


1 lb. Fresh or Frozen Cheese Tortellini
1 cup Frozen Peas
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Pieces (Try Smart Balance)
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream (Try Fat Free Variety)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 lb. Low Fat Ham, Chopped


Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook tortellini until al dente (follow package directions). Add peas to pot for the last 30 seconds of cooking time. Drain tortellini and peas and return to pot. Stir in butter, cream, salt, pepper, parmesan and ham. Turn stove on to medium heat and cook, stirring, until ingredients are heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo


8 oz. package of Linguine (whole wheat or omega enhanced variety)
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Broccoli Flowerets
2 tbsp Butter
1 lb. Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast Cut Into 1 1/2 " Pieces
1 10-11oz can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (choose 98% Fat Free or 25% Less Sodium)
1/2 cup Low Fat Milk
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper


Prepare linguine according to package directions. Add broccoli during last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain broccoli and linguine in colander. Heat butter in 10" skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, stirring often. Stir soup, milk, cheese, black pepper and linguine mixture into skillet. Cook until mixture is hot and bubbling. Top with additional parmesan cheese.

Substitutes: Use Grilled chicken breast, cut into chunks instead of boneless chicken. You can also use 1 lb. fresh large shrimp, shelled and deveined, instead of chicken. Cook shrimp until pink.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What To Do About Drugs?

This "letter to the editor" appeared recently on the editorial pages of many national newspapers and has been seen on the internet in the form of a blog.

If you are a parent, a concerned citizen or a young adult just trying to do the right thing but are surrounded by peer pressure, consider your following options...

The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, "Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?" I replied, I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather. I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me. I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of dad's fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood, and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in every­thing I do, say, or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin: and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place. God bless the parents who drugged us.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cherry Bread Pudding

1-8oz. French Bread Loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces
Vegetable Cooking Spray
2 cups Fat Free Milk
1/2 of 12oz. can Fat Free Evaporated Milk
3/4 cup No-Calorie Sweetener (like Splenda)
3/4 cup Egg Substitute
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Cherry Sauce (cook sauce while bread pudding is baking)

Cherry Sauce Ingredients:
1 (15oz) can Pitted Tart Cherries in Water
3 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Cherry Flavored Liqueur

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread in pieces in 6 (8 oz) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Place ramekins on baking sheet. Whisk together milk and next 8 ingredients until blended. Pour milk mixture over bread in ramekins; let stand 30 minutes, pressing bread to absorb mixture after 15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or just until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Spoon cherry sauce over bread pudding.

Directions for Cherry Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 16 to 18 minutes or until most of the liquid is reduced.