Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Cheese Quesadillas

Last week's poll ended with Cheese Quesadillas as being the most wanted appetizer. This is one of my favorite dishes. If we go out for Mexican and margaritas, it's a guarantee that I'm ordering some kind of quesadilla. So needless to say, I am extremely happy with what ya'll picked. Thanks!
There isn't much to a cheese quesadilla; cheese and tortilla. Since my mission is to create meals that are a little bit lighter and pack a more nutritional punch, a few extra ingredients needed to added to give this dish some pep! Check out my version of Paula Deen's Cheese Quesadilla.

Makes 8 Quesadillas


8 medium WHOLE WHEAT tortillas

2 cups grated Reduced-Fat (2%) Mexican cheese blend

Cooking Spray

Fat Free Sour cream, for garnish

Salsa, for garnish

1 Red Pepper, chopped

1 Green Pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

Sautéed chopped peppers and onions in a little bit of cooking spray. Cook until veggies are tender. Set aside.

Lay the tortillas flat on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle some of the cheese on 1 half of each tortilla. Try not to get it too close to the edge. Add a spoonful of  veggies sautéed on top. Fold the tortillas in half over the cheese and veggies to make a half-moon.

Warm a skillet over low heat and add a quick shot of cooking spray. Add the tortilla to the skillet and cook until it is lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, gently lift the edge so you can check. When 1 side is brown, turn the tortilla over and cook the other side until brown and the cheese is all gooey. Use a spatula to transfer to individual plates or a large platter. Repeat with remaining butter and tortillas. Top them with the sour cream, salsa and guacamole (easy on the guac; healthy, but high in fat).


It was scary.  My caveman of a husband almost lost it when he realized there was no meat going into this dish. "You're kidding me, right Lindsay? No meat?!?!" Yes, I know it is an appetizer, but it can also be a great dinner!
Well, after eating two of them, he was raving about how delicious and filling they were. After being married to this man for 4-1/2 years, this could have been one of two things;  his attempt at working his was into my good graces or they really did hit the spot. I would have said he was just trying to make up, but based on the absence of late night snacking, I think it is safe to say that these Cheese and Veggie Quesadillas are enough to satisfy even a grown man's Mexican cravings and growling tummy. They make a great appy and a nutritious, filling meal. ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving; one quesadilla): 221.13 calories; 8.5g fat;  25.39g carbohydrate;  11.33g protein;  2.63g fiber
Add 2 tbsp Fat Free Sour Cream & 2 tablespoons salsa for an extra: 33 calories; .05g fat; 6.99g carbohydrate; 1.48g protein; .5g fiber

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Confederate Bean Soup

On a cold winter day, nothin' sounds better than a warm bowl of soup. Last Friday was one of those days in Virginia. I just had to have a great bowl of soup! While on my mission to find that perfect, filling, comforting recipe, I remembered seeing just the thing in my Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. So, I pulled out the book, thumbed through the pages and found just what I needed on page 25; Paula Deen's Confederate Bean Soup. It's simple, it's delicious and it's so satisfying. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Serves  4


1/2 pound Jennie-O Lean smoked TURKEY sausage, sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds

2 slices Extra Lean Jennie-O TURKEY bacon, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 16 oz. can Vegetarian Fat Free Bush's Baked Beans

1-1/2 cup FAT FREE half-and-half

cooking spray


Sauté turkey sausage, turkey bacon, garlic, onion and green pepper in a sprayed pan until bacon is cooked. Add beans and simmer for a few minutes over medium to low heat.

Add the FAT FREE half-and-half. Adjust the amount of half-and-half to meet your preferred thickness. Serve with warm corn bread.


Something that I wasn't ready for was the sweet taste that hit me on that first spoonful. The sweetness of the baked beans comes through stronger than I had anticipated. It was something different, but in a good way.

The feedback from my husband was that the sausage was just "too much". He's right. It did make the soup a bit heavy, but if all you are eating for lunch or dinner is the soup (with a little corn bread on the side), then it's not bad. The sausage doesn't seem to dominate the flavor too much, therefore leaving it out would still probably produce a delicious soup. Pair it with a warm, grilled sandwich and you have yourself a meal. However you decide to make this soup, with or without the sausage, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 309.75 calories;  4.55g fat;  44.2g carbohydrate;  19.17g protein;  5.65g fiber

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Raspberry Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This recipe makeover is a teeny bit different than the others. Very rarely do I wonder too far from the original, but the need for some adventure tempted me into taking a chance with this one. I'm such a rebel! The source of inspiration for my recipe comes from Paula Deen's Cherry Balsamic Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breasts. The two factors that kept me from making her version were (A)I don't care for cherries, unless they are in a Manhattan and (B) I don't have her fancy grilling sauce on hand. Therefore, Lindsay's Lean Raspberry Stuffed Chicken Breast recipe was born. It is a fabulous, fresh and light dish that really brings a new taste to chicken.

Serves 4


1 lb. thin sliced boneless/skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 cup low-fat Raspberry Walnut Salad Dressing (Suggested: Ken's Healthy Options)
8 tablespoons fresh raspberries, sliced in half
4 slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese
4 slices low-fat deli ham
Fresh whole raspberries to garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Top each chicken breast with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add 1/2 slice of Swiss cheese, a similar size piece of ham and 4-5 raspberry halves. Roll up tightly and secure with a skewer or toothpick. Place the chicken rolls on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and drizzle with raspberry dressing. Bake for 20 minutes.

Serve along side a green salad. Drizzle additional dressing on the cooked chicken and garnish with fresh raspberries.

It was sort of scary with this one and I had my doubts. I figured since raspberry chicken salads are so delish, this had to be somewhere close to it. Turns out...I was right! YUM! There was almost a slight problem when my husband saw the raspberries (apparently he doesn't like them...ooops!), but don't worry, the dinner pulled through. He still picked out the raspberries like a child because it is a "texture thing", but he loved the flavor. This dish would be a great summertime meal, especially with a salad. I chose to bake mine 'cause around here, all  the grillin' is left to the man of the house. But grilling the chicken would also be a nice way to do it: giving it a different flavor. I hope you decide to give this one a try and enjoy my twist on Paula's Cherry Chicken.

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 310 calories;  12.53g fat;  14.15g carbohydrate;  36.21g protein;  2g fiber
**To bring the fat down even more, try looking for a "fat-free" dressing similar to the one used in this recipe.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

By popular demand, I am bringing to you a dish that takes the top spot as my most favorite Mac n' Cheese recipe ever! I am so serious y'all, it is the best! I don't know if it's the cheese or the slow cooker, but something made this classic stand out and above all the others. If I have you more excited about cheese and noodles than you ever believed possible, then please follow the lean recipe below from Paula Deen's Creamy Macaroni and Cheese. You will be so happy you did!

Thanks so much to those who took part in my first recipe poll. I love making over these recipes for my family, but at the same time, I want to tackle the recipes you want the most. Look for more polls to come and please take a second to cast your vote. I love the feedback!

Makes 12 Servings


1 cup 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon Smart Balance Butter-Blend w/EVOO, cut into pieces
1/2 cup FAT FREE sour cream
3 eggs whites or 1/2 cup Egg White Substitute, beaten
1 cup FAT FREE cottage cheese
10 oz. 2% Velveeta block cubed
2 cup uncooked Whole Wheat elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and Velveeta. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter-blend mixture and add the sour cream, cottage cheese, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Add egg whites.

Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Know your slow cooker. I am not one to use a slow cooker very often, so when the recipe said LOW, what I later discovered was that mine was actually too warm for three hours of sitting. Next time, I will use the WARM setting if I am going to let it sit the full three hours. My macaroni and cheese was actually perfect at about two hours on our slowcooker LOW setting. Since not all cookers are created equal, it's best to watch it over the first hour, stirring occasionally. We wouldn't want to burn this masterpiece.

Instead of using the 2% version of cheddar cheese, I used 2% Velveeta. Not only does it taste great and melt beautifully, but it actually has 1/2 the fat per ounce than cheddar. In comparing the two, 2% cheddar has 6g of fat per ounce and 2% Velveeta has 3g. The Velveeta allowed me to shave roughly 30 grams of fat off the entire recipe. That is a Lean Deen Victory!

I tried a new ingredient in this recipe; Smart Balance Butter Blend with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. As far as function and taste, it works as a great butter substitute. On top of that, it is packed with essential nutrients such as Omega-3 and vitamin E. Butter with benefits? Sounds good to me! If you haven't already, I would definitely suggest trying it out.

ENJOY the Mac n' Cheese!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):  161.42 calories;  5.36g fat;  20.51g carbohydrate;  9.68g protein;  1.67g fiber

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Chicken a la Gaynor

Cooking can be intimidating. This is especially so when looking at a list of ingredients and having no idea what some of them are. In the past, this would scare me away from trying the recipe...but not anymore. From this point on, I have decided to stand up to the "recipe" and not allow it to defeat me. So what if I don't know what a "vignette" is? It's not going to stop me! Each cooking experience is an opportunity to learn something new about food and cooking. Therfore, in my personal moment of triumph, I bring you a healthy version of Paula Deen's Chicken a la Gaynor (original recipes calls for those "vignettes"). This is proof that even if you don't know what the recipe is calling for, you can still figure it out and make it work. Don't be intimidated. It's just food.

Serves 5

1-1/2  lbs. boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 10 oz can of Campbell's Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
1 3 oz can of sliced mushrooms
8 ounce FAT FREE sour cream
2 ounce 1% milk
2 ounce cooking sherry


Lightly season with seasoned salt. Bake in oven (425 degrees) for about 20 minutes.

While chicken bakes, pour chicken soup and FAT FREE sour cream into a sauce pan slowly adding 1% milk, sherry, and mushrooms (in that order) until smooth. Put aside.

When chicken is brown (approx 20 minutes) pour soup mixture over chicken and return chicken to the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice, whole wheat pasta or No-Yolk egg noodles with colorful veggies such as spiced carrots and green beans almandine for a sumptuous meal that’s ready in an hour and tastes like you’ve been cooking all day long.

Recipe courtesy of Gloria Gaynor

This recipe was wonderful! When I told my husband that it was a healthy meal, he couldn't understand how chicken smothered with cream sauce could be low fat. Well, your dream has come true, because it most definitely is! There is absolutely no butter or cheese in this recipe. Low-fat or fat-free ingredients were used to make this delicious sauce. Using boneless and skinless chicken breasts assures that you are getting the leanest protein without the added fat and calories from the skin. We enjoyed our Chicken a la Gaynor over No-Yolk egg noodles and it was fantastic! Top it off with just a little salt and pepper, and you have yourself an indulgent dish with nothing to feel guilty about. ENJOY!!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 219.6 calories;  3.23g fat;  9.54g carbohydrate;  33.34g protein;  .68g fiber

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Barbecue Meatloaf

Meatloaf is not a meal that I absolutely flip over, but it does just hit the spot every now and then. I remember growing up and being so disappointed to find out that we were having meatloaf for dinner. "Yuk! Why meatloaf?" As years have passed, it really isn't as bad as I remember it being (no offense Mom). And now that I am the one doing the cooking, I can really appreciate how easy it is to throw one together.

This recipe adds a little kick to the traditional meatloaf you are probably used to. The following is my take on Paula Deen's Barbecue Meatloaf.

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds 93/7 ground beef

1 cup oatmeal

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup egg beaters 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

3 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons SPLENDA brown sugar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup water, to thin sauce if necessary


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the beef, oatmeal, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Form this mixture into a loaf and place it in a shallow pan. Stir together the remaining tomato sauce, vinegar, SPLENDA brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire and the water (if too thick). Pour this sauce over the meatloaf. Bake for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with the pan juices.

Paula also suggests serving a slice of this on a bun with mayo; light mayo, of course.


The pictures do not give this dish justice. It is really good! Never had I put barbecue and meatloaf together, but it is a great combination. The major change made to this recipe was to use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs. Oatmeal is a healthy source of fiber that also packs in important vitamins such as vitamin E, Zinc and Iron. It is a smart substitute to bread.
My only suggestion when using this recipe would be to add the 1/2 cup of water that the recipe calls for. When I mixed mine together, the consistency was similar to barbecue sauce, which I thought would be best. However, since you are using this to baste for an hour, you need something a little thinner. Next time, I am going to mix up some extra sauce for serving. I can't help it....I'm a dipper!


NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 274 calories;  9g fat;  22g carbohydrate;  25.5g protein;  3g fiber

Friday, January 8, 2010

Awarded By Royalty

I am so excited to have recieved my very first blogging award! This Kreativ Blogger Award was given to me by Molly at Dutchess of Fork. Thanks again Molly! The way this award works is that I now am asked to list 7 facts about myself, then pass this award on to 7 other Kreativ Bloggers. So, let's have a little fun!


1. My husband and I grew up in the same small town, went to rival high schools and had common friends.  However, we never knew each other until meeting after college. Sometimes it feels like we grew up together, but we didn't. Everything happens for a reason.

2. It's weird, but when I was about 12, a tooth grew in through the roof of my mouth! My mom didn't believe me at first. We finally went to my orthodontist and he had to make a hole in my retainer to leave room for the tooth. Don't worry, it was taken out shortly after. But I still have the retainer to prove it!

3. My Great Uncle was President of the United States; Gerald R. Ford. He is the brother of my grandfather, James Ford. It has been very special having such an inspirational person as part of my life.

4. Never have I ever been stung by a bee.

5. I live in the house I grew up in. We took over when my parents moved to Charlotte. At first it was a litte strange, but we settled in quickly and made it our home. It's really cool having my daughter in the room I was in as a  little girl.

6. Cooking is not something people realized I did much of until starting this blog. My favorite line from a friend has been, "So, since when have you been Ms. Betty Crocker? I had no idea!"

7. I love music! Listening to it, dancing to it and even trying to sing to it. In my dreams, I am a talented pop-star (think Beyonce or Britney). In reality, I am a not-so-talented, yet enthusiastic, fan. Either way, I am happy and loving what music brings to life.

Here are the following people that I am excited to nominate as "Kreativ Bloggers". Congratulations all of you! Keep up the kreativity in 2010!


1. Land of Mama Grits

2. Becky at Grits and Gossip

3. Tammy at Frugal Southern Mom

4. Heather at Mrs. Southern Bride

5.  Christin at A Classy, Southern Bride

6. Velva at Tomatoes on the Vine

7. Betsy & Summer at Chic Shoppers

And there you have it! A list of 7 wonderful and creative bloggers. Stop by their blogs and see what all the excitement is about.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Mixed Berry Bellinis

Here's a toast to a new year full of happiness, health, success, love and ....Mixed Berry Bellinis! Let me tell you, we just had a blast whippin' together these wonderful drinks minutes before the ball dropped on New Year's Eve. Not only are they delicious, but they are really easy to mix up. Now let's be honest, there isn't really anything healthy about a glass of sparkling wine, unless you count the mental benefits of course. In all seriousness, alcohol contains sugar and no nutritional benefits. Each gram of alcohol delivers 7 empty, useless calories. So let's just add some mixed berries to our sparkling wine and count it as one fruit serving  for the day. That's something we can all feel better about. Sound good? Then check out this recipe for Lean Mixed Berry Bellinis!


Makes 6-8 Glasses


1/4 cup SPLENDA
1 (12-ounce) package frozen mixed berries, thawed
1 (750 ml) bottle sparkling wine


In the container of an electric blender, combine berries and SPLENDA; process until smooth. Strain mixture, if desired. Pour fruit mixture into a serving pitcher; slowly add wine, stirring gently to combine.


Not everyone likes champagne, but everyone loved the Berry Bellinis! The only thing I changed in this recipe was to substitute SPLENDA in place of the sugar. To be quite honest, there is really no need for the extra calories of sugar. The wine and fruit make it sweet enough. I suggest either leaving it out completely or subbing your favorite non-calorie sweetner instead.
These drinks make a great party treat any time of the year. I will definitely be making this festive beverage again. CHEERS!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Fig Blue Cheese Crostini

My husband and I absolutely love having people over to our home. We truly value the friendships of others and the time spent together. Even though we open up our home and enjoy having others in it, this does not dismiss the fact there is a lot of work that goes into it . Things need to be straightened up, a trip to the store needs to be made, food needs to be prepared and in my case, the little one needs to get a nap at some point. With so much to do, I can't always afford to spend hours and hours preparing food in the kitchen. Therefore, I love recipes such as Paula Deen's Fig Balsamic Blue Cheese Crostini. It sounds so fancy, yet takes hardly any time or thought at all. Here's how to make it little bit lighter and still make it a big hit!

Yields 8 Servings

1 Whole Grain baguette, sliced and toasted
2 oz goat cheese
4 oz FAT FREE cream cheese
2 oz REDUCED-FAT blue cheese
1/2 cup Fig Preserves

In a the bowl of a food processor, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese and blue cheese. Process until smooth.
To serve spread crostini with cheese mixture and top with a dollop of the Fig Preserves.

My guests were really happy with this appetizer. The combination of the three different cheese flavors was really nice. The dollop of fig gives just the right amount of sweet to compliment the cheese spread. Now, Paula Deen's recipe calls for her Fig Balsamic Grilling Sauce, which I did not have. Therefore, a little improvising had to be done and I used the closest thing to it; Fig Preserves. It worked this time! If you are not a fan of fig, perhaps any low-sugar fruit preserve would be just as good...if not better. Try it with a little raspberry or blueberry preserves. Let me know how it is!


NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 201.5 calories;  3.1g fat;  37.1g carbohydrate;  10.2g protein;  6.3g fiber


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