Thursday, September 22, 2011

Part 2: Incredibly Cool After School Snacks

Now we're ready for part two of the After School Special blog posts.  This one is a little on the "fishy" side--but not always in flavor.  As always these recipes are not only packed with fun, but also healthy, nutritious, filling, and under 200 calories! Check out these cute recipes from down under.

Fish in a Pond 

1 large bunch of celery (cleaned and cut into 3" sticks)
1/2 cup fat free cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
dash of cumin
dash of onion powder
50-60 multigrain baked goaldfish
blue food coloring (optional)

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, cumin, onion powder, and food coloring until well blended.  Divide the mixture into two bowls.  Surround the blue dip with 1/2 the goldfish.  Serve with celery sticks.

How to eat: Dip the celery sticks in blue cream cheese dip, and then in the goldfish.  Enjoy!

Makes 2 huge servings with 180 calories each (packed with only 6 grams of sugar and a whopping 12 grams of protein!)

Jumbo Tuna Fish Shells

2 cans light tuna in water (drained)
3 Tbsp reduced fat mayo (I recommend one with Olive Oil)
1 Tbsp red onion (diced)
1 Tbsp chopped green onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup celery (diced)
6 Jumbo Shells (cooked according to package, chilled)

Mix all ingredients minus jumbo shells in a bowl.  Scoop evenly into each shell.  Serve Cold.

Makes 3 servings (2 shells each) with only 160 calories per serving! (Less than 2 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fat, and over 14 grams of protein!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Incredibly Cool After School Snacks

You're never too old to love those after school snacks from your childhood.  Who doesn't want that sweet, salty, and crunchy goodness after a long day?  However, most of those snacks come with hundreds of calories and are saturated in fat and sugar.  This is the first in the series of four after school special posts.  each with 2 kid and adult friendly healthy recipes.  So put down those Doritos and forget about the Hostess cakes.  Because these snacks are low in calories, sugar, and full of nutrition.  It doesn't hurt that they're oh so cute either :) Lets get back to our childhood.

PB & Raspberry Pops

1/2 cup reduced fat Jif Peanut Butter
1 cup fat free Plain Yogurt
1 cup Skim Milk
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raspberries
2 cups prepared Crystal Light Raspberry Ice Drink Mix
1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)

Blend with a hand-mixer the peanut butter, plain yogurt, skim milk, honey, and vanilla until smooth.

Pour Peanut Butter mixture into popsicle molds until they are 1/3 of the way full.  Cover and freeze pops for 1 hour.  Meanwhile, cover and chill the remaining peanut butter mixture.

Stir together the raspberries and Crystal Light drink mix.  Take the pops out of the freezer and divide the drink mix among the pops.  Place popsicle sticks in the pops.  Cover and freeze for another hour.  Take out and top with the remaining peanut butter mixture.  Freeze for 8 hours or until completely frozen.

When ready to serve, take the pops out of the freezer and let them sit for 5 minutes.  If desired, brush honey at the base of the pops and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

Makes 6-8 pops with around 140 calories each! (Only 7 grams of sugar and packed with 6 grams of protein per pop!)

Tangy Cucumber Boats

2  cucumbers 8"  (halved and seeds removed)
1/2 cup fat free cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
dash of lime juice (optional)

Cut ends of cucumbers into small triangular shapes and place onto toothpicks.  Scoop out the seeds out of the halved cucumbers with a small melon baller.

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, cumin, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl.  Mix until well blended. Divide the cream cheese mixture into the cucumber boats evenly.

Finish the cucumber boats off with the cucumber toothpick sails for garnish.  Enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (2 cucumber halves each) 130 calories per serving (Less than 5 grams of sugar, virtually no fat, and over 11 grams of protein!)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spinach and Crab Stuffed Tilapia

I know it's been forever since my last post, but better late than never :) So to start my new post off with a healthy  yet delicious kick, what better than my first ever baked fish recipe.  I know, I know...baked fish is boring. So I decided to give it a little umph by adding a cheesy crab and spinach stuffing.  Who doesn't love that combination? No worries though, it is only 270 calories per serving! Amazing, right?!

2 Tilapia fillets
3/4 cup crabmeat (cooked and chopped)
1/2 cup fresh spinach (chopped if you would like, I left it whole)
1 1/2 tsp Italian breadcrumbs
1 green onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp fat-free ricotta
1 Tbsp romano/asiago cheese (shredded)
1 Tbsp gorgonzola (crumbled)
2 Tbsp fat-free whipped cream cheese
1/4 tsp minced garlic

Start off by adding everything except the tilapia fillets into a mixing bowl.  Stir softly with a rubber spatula until the spinach is mostly covered.  Then use a mixer to blend the ingredients together until a more even mixture.  You want to make sure to stir with the spatula beforehand so the spinach doesn't fly everywhere when you use the electric mixer.

Next wash your tilapia fillets and lay them out on a cutting board.  Divide your crab mixture into two and place onto the tilapia fillets.  Roll the fillets up.

Place the fillets seam side down into a greased glass pan. Sprinkle paprika and chopped or dried parsley over the stuffed fillets.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Make sure that both the stuffing and the fish are fully cooked.

Serve while hot and add a lemon slice for a garnish if you would like! Enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (270 calories each)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Savory Chicken and Vegetable Rice

If you're like me and love flavorful, sticky rice recipes, this one will be perfect for you.  It has all of the protein, vegetables, and grains that are required for an excellent balanced meal.  This recipe is so easy and an excellent choice on those nights where you just don't want to do a whole lot of prep work.  And did I mention, the portion size is giagantic for the small amount of calories!  It's a win-win situation all around! 

1 chicken breast
1/2 large onion (diced)  
1/2 large bell pepper (diced, seeds removed)
1/2 jalepeno (diced, seeds removed)
1 medium tomato (diced, seeds removed)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup long-grained white rice
1 1/2 Tbsp sunflower oil
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Start out by dicing up your thawed chicken breast.  Then add the peices into a skillet with 1 Tbsp of the sunflower oil and cook just until the chicken loses it's raw-ness.  It's okay if the inside is still a little raw.

Remove the chicken from the pan and add the remaining oil.  Then add the onions, bell pepper, and jalepenos to sautee.  Once the onion is almost translucent, add the diced tomato and simmer for an additional 3 minutes. 

Sprinkle the cumin, paprika, tumeric, and black pepper over the vegetables and cook them for another minute.  Pour in the rice and let the flavors mix for about 2 minutes.  Then add the oregano.

Slowly pour in the chicken broth and add the diced chicken.  Bring the rice mixture to a boil. 

At this point, I transfered the entire pan into my rice cooker and let it do it's thing for about 25 minutes.  However, if you do not have a rice cooker, simply put a tight lid on the pan and simmer for 25 minutes as well!  Turn the heat off, and then stir the mixture.  (It will still be sort of soupy).  Check your seasoning and add anything else you think it needs.  After about ten minutes of letting it set, you'll have the perfect chicken and rice concoction!

355 calories for half of the entire recipe!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eggplant Parmesana Piccolino's

These cheesy eggplant piccolino's make an excellent appetizer OR full meal.  If you're craving italian food, but don't want the carbs, fat, or calories, this is definitely the way to go.  And they are extremely easy to make.  You can be very creative with the ingredients as well.  Try adding olives or shredded chicken for even more flavor!

1 medium eggplant
3/4 cup tomato sauce (either pasta or pizza sauce)
3/4 cup cheese (mozzerella, provelone, or even colby jack)
1/3 bell pepper
1/2 onion
1/2 cup diced tomato
dried basil
cooking oil

Slice the eggplant into discs that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  Lay them in a skillet with cooking oil to brown them up a bit (only until they are golden).  This usually takes 2 minutes per side on Medium Heat.

Remove the eggplant from the skillet and add the onion to the skillet.  If you think you need to add more oil, do so, however it shouldn't take too much in the first place.  Sautee the onion and then add the diced tomato and bell pepper.  Cook for an additional 3 minutes on Medium heat.  If you want to add some Lawrys garlic salt for more flavor, go right ahead.

Put the eggplant slices in a casserole dish and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Spread the tomato sauce evenly on the sliced eggplant.  Spoon a little of the onion, bell pepper, and tomato onto the slices.  Layer them with the shredded cheese.  And add the parmesan on top of that.  Finish it off with some dried basil or oregano. 

Begin baking at 350 degrees for 5 minutes and on Broil (400 degrees) for another 4-6 minutes.
Make sure you let them cool for a few minutes before serving!

317 calories for a HALF of this recipe.  This is an extremely large portion.  Enjoy!!!!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baked Stuffed Zucchini

This is an excellent easy recipe if you're sick of the same ol' same ol'.  It takes so little time to prepare and you can even prepare them in advance and bake them at a later time!  If you are not someone that normally likes zucchini this will add so much flavor to it, you'll be begging for more.  It's so low in calories and you wouldn't have even guessed it by the way it tastes!

1 Tbsp Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 pound turkey sausage
1/2 tomato
1 tsp thyme
2 large zucchinis
1 onion
1/2 cup colby-jack cheese
pepper to taste

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees

Wash your zucchinis and then cut them in half lengthwise.  Spoon out the insides so your zucchinis become "boat-like."  There should be somewhere between 1/3-1/2 an inch left of the zucchini on the sides.

Take the insides of the zucchini and chop it into smaller pieces.  While you're at it, chop up the onion and tomato as well.

Brown the chopped onions and turkey sausage together.  When both are almost done, add the curry powder and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  It is very important you only cook it for that long.  If you leave it on the burner for too long, the curry powder will become bitter.

In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped zucchini, tomatoes, sour cream, dried thyme, salt, and a pinch of pepper with the sausage and onion mixture.

Lightly spray a baking dish with cooking oil and place the zucchini boats in them.  Fill the zucchinis with the mix and add the shredded cheese on top.

At this point you can either bake them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown, OR you can choose to refrigerate them and bake at a later time. Either way, enjoy!

233 calories per serving (1/2 recipe)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creamy Chicken & Spinach Alfredo Soup

This soup is perfect for students that are on the go and just need to put it all together and leave.  It also allows for the option of making a creamy low(er) calorie pasta dish that still has protein and is low in fat.

This original recipe called for tortellini, however I ended up substituting the cheese tortellini for vermicelli. This downsized the recipe on both the calories and the cost.  I also added some low in fat chicken breast for a bit more protein and used fat-free evaporated milk versus the calorie costing and high in fat regular stuff.  Again, this recipe is for 2 people, but can easily be doubled for a full family.


1/2 envelope of alfredo sauce mix
2 cups of water
7oz of Chicken broth
1/2 can of chicken breast
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried oregano
pinch of chili powder
3 oz uncooked vermicelli
6oz fat-free evaporated milk
3 cups fresh spinach leaves torn

Empty the dry alfredo sauce mix into a 2 quart crock pot.  Gradually add the water and stir until smooth.  Stir in the chicken broth, chicken breast, fresh mushrooms, onion, minced garlic, basil, salt, oregano, and chili powder.

Stir until this mixture is an even consistency.  Then cook covered on Low-Med heat setting for 5-6 hours. You can also cook this on a High setting for 2 1/2-3 hours instead.

After cooking, stir in dry vermicelli.  You will have to break up the pasta in order for it to fit into the crock pot.  Cover again and cook on Low-Med heat setting for another hour.

Stir in the evaporated milk and spinach.  Cook until the spinach is fully cooked and wilted.  This makes 2 individual servings.  As a garnish, you can sprinkle with some low-fat parmesan and cracked black pepper.

295 calories per serving (1/2 the recipe)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vegetable Stew with Cornbread Dumplings

This is a wonderful slow cooker recipe that I found and altered to my liking.  Since I am still in college, it is sometimes hard to come up with good, easy recipes that do not take a whole lot of time or access to a large kitchen.  This recipe solely requires a slow cooker.  I made it in a 2 quart crock pot and altered the recipe for 2 people, so I would have leftovers for the next day.  One-person meals never turn out correctly in my opinion, so I go for at least two servings.  This is a great comfort food recipe that is also low in calories, but still brings amazing flavor to the table.


For Vegetable Stew-
1/2 can corn
1/2 can carrot & peas
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes (with juice)
1/2 cup water (add more if needed)
1/2 cup tomato soup
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp black pepper

For Cornbread dumplings-
1/4 cup flour
1/6 cup of cornmeal
1Tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 egg--yes, I said 1/2 an egg.  I used 1/8 cup pre-made egg substitute, or you can double the recipe and use one whole egg.
1Tbsp milk
1/4 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
1Tbsp olive oil

Add all of the Vegetable Stew ingredients directly into the crock pot and stir.  Cook covered on Low-Med heat for 8-10 hours.  If stew gets dry, just add more water.

For the dumplings, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, parsley, baking powder, and salt.  In a small bowl whisk the egg, milk, and oil.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir with a fork until desired consistency.

After cooking the vegetable stew for 8-10 hours on Low-Medium heat, turn the temperature to the High Setting.  Drop the dumpling dough into six mounds on top of the stew.  Sprinkle with paprika or chopped parsley if desired.  Then cook everything on High for 50 minutes more.  Make sure that you do NOT lift the lid of the crock pot as the dumplings are cooking.  

There should be about 2 dumplings per person.  

305 calories per serving (1/2 the recipe)