Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chicken Brunswick Stew Photos

Since I do not have recipe photos inside of my book, I am sharing a couple of the Brunswick Stew recipe on page 97. You can enlarge any photo in this blog by clicking on it.

I always say that recipes are merely an idea/starting point for me, and this day was no exception! This is a slightly modified version of the recipe, and the details of the changes I made are listed below.

in the crockpot, ready to cook

I stirred in ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper with the flour.

I only used about ¾ lb. of chicken breast.

ready to eat
I used dried lima beans instead of frozen, so I soaked them in hot boiling water for a couple of hours, and I put them in the crockpot at the start instead of with the corn.

I used yellow bell pepper instead of green bell pepper, and I added in a few carrots.

I did not cut my parsnips in cubes, like I had written in the recipe. Big mistake! The chunks were too large, and not cooked as much as we like.

I cooked this about 8 hours on low, and I wish I had used the auto setting on my crockpot (high for an hour, and then it turns to low).

This stew has a mild kick to it, which we love! If anyone reading this post would like the recipe too, post your comment below, and I will update this post with the complete ingredients and directions.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

7-layer Salad Recipe Update

Those of you who have my book already have a version of this recipe on page 87. And, if you follow my posts, you know that I almost aways substitute plain nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream in recipes. I have wanted to try this recipe with 100% yogurt substituted for sour cream; however, I had not tried it that way before my book was published. 

Last night, I made this for just the two of us, so I swapped out the sour cream 100% for yogurt. The result was not much different than sour cream, so I will be using yogurt in this recipe from now on. The photos shown here are slightly different than the recipe because I made a smaller batch, and I substituted some ingredients for what I had in my fridge, as usual.

Lettuce - I use romaine or a similar green leafy style
Sweet onion or red onion
Green bell pepper - I used yellow and orange bell pepper
Frozen peas, thawed
½ package dry ranch or Italian dressing 
½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
½ cup mayo - I always use olive oil based Kraft or Hellmann's
Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
Turkey bacon bits - I used 4 slices of cooked and chopped turkey bacon  

salad with seasoning ready for the dressing

Chop and layer vegetables in order given in a 9” x 12” dish. The glass dish in the photo that I used for this smaller batch is 11" x 7", and I did not layer the ingredients as thickly as I usually do when preparing this for a gathering. 

Sprinkle salad evenly with dry dressing mix. I used ¼ of a package for this smaller batch, which is a little more than a tablespoon. 

ready to serve

Combine yogurt and mayo; carefully spread over vegetables. I used ¼ cup each of yogurt and mayo for this smaller batch. Although it may look like the dry dressing mix and spread is too thin, the flavor will be full.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Be careful not to be too heavy-handed when layering the ingredients. I thought this batch ended up with a bit too much cheese, although my husband always likes lots of cheese!

Serve immediately  or refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving, as this starts to get soggy after 24 hours.

Now that I know we like this with yogurt in place of sour cream, I am not afraid to serve it to others, too. If I get any complaints the next time I serve this, I will let everyone know!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cheesy Cabbage and Celery Bake

Use any basic cream or cheese sauce recipe to use up extra vegetables on hand, or to add vegetable variety to meals. This version has lower fat than most cream sauces.

1 cup chopped celery
3 cups chopped cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons butter blend - Earth Balance, Olivio, and Smart Balance are all healthier choices than butter or margarine
¼ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon whole-grain flour - I was out of wheat flour so I used rye flour, which added excellent flavor
pinch of dried mustard
¾ to 1 cup nonfat milk
½ to 1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese or any cheese of choice - I used about ¾ cup finely shredded Colby-Jack cheese
freshly ground pepper
chopped celery leaves, optional

Heat an inch of water in a large saucepan on the stove. Add celery and cabbage, cover, reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Drain any remaining water.

Heat oil and butter blend in a shallow frying pan on the stove. Add onion and cook until softened--2 to 3 minutes. Stir in flour, and then dried mustard and milk. Stir over low heat until thickened, about 1 minute.

Spray a casserole dish lightly with cooking spray. Add half of the cooked cabbage/celery mixture. Top with half of the cream sauce, and then half of the cheese. Top with remaining vegetables, sauce, and then cheese. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and then top with celery tops, if desired.

Bake in 375° oven until vegetables are cooked and cheese is starting to crisp--20 to 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

No Sugar Added Pizza Sauce

After perusing many pizza sauce recipes online, I came up with the following no-sugar-added combination to use on our whole-wheat pizza crust

finished product


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato or V-8 juice
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil, thyme, and oregano - use fresh herbs instead, if possible
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper - about ¼ teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chicken Curry Salad

1 lb. chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1 ½ cups)
¼ cup olive oil based mayo
1 tablespoon nonfat Greek yogurt
¼ cup green onion slices - I used thinly sliced red onion, which was kind of strong. This was still very good, although I suggest less than ¼ cup if using red onion.
¾ cup halved grapes or ¼ cup raisins - I used raisins
½ cup thinly sliced celery
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios
1 teaspoon curry powder

Mix all ingredients until well blended; cover and chill at least 20 minutes to blend flavors. 

Serve with whole grain crackers, as a sandwich filling, or on fresh lettuce.

If serving as a salad or main dish, this makes 2 large servings or 4 small to average sized portions. The photo here is a little less than half of the chicken salad mixture. I used all chicken breast meat to prepare this--as I always do because it has less fat than dark meat; it looks darker  in the photo because of the curry powder.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken and Barley

This recipe started with one a friend shared on Facebook. I downsized it and altered the ingredients slightly. 

Ingredients - serves 3 to 4
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
springs of fresh herbs or ¼ teaspoon each dried thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano - I used dried herbs, as that is what I had on hand.
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 - 3 peeled garlic cloves, whole
bell peppers (optional), cut into chunks - I used red, orange, and green bell peppers.
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry sherry
½ - ¾ cup water
scant ½ cup pearl barley
6 pitted kalamata olives - I settled for black olives this time. I will use kalamata olives next time!
¼ cup low fat crumbled feta cheese - The photo below is without the cheese.

Pour the olive oil into the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken breasts into the crockpot. Season with salt and pepper. Top each breast with Italian herbs, sliced onion, garlic cloves, and bell peppers, if using. If you prefer crisper vegetables, wait to add the peppers with the barely. I added some peppers at the start and a few more with the barley.

Combine vinegar, tomatoes, tomato paste, cooking sherry, and water; gently pour sauce around chicken. Cook on high for about 3 hours.

Remove chicken breasts and set aside. Stir barley into tomato sauce in crockpot. Slice chicken into thick slices or cut into large chunks, and place back atop the barley/tomato mixture. Top with olives. Cook until barley is done, about 1 hour more. Check after 30 minutes and add water, if needed. Stir in feta cheese before serving.