Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: "A" is for Avocado

Avocados are an "A+" fruit, all-around. Not only are they delicious, they also offer great nutritional benefits and can be used in many of our already favorite recipes! Did you know that avocados can be used in place of butter in most baking recipes? How about mac n'cheese? Yep, they sure can. Intrigued? There's more!

Thanks to my fabulous friends at Avocados of Mexico, I have some great nutrition facts to share. Soon you will see why avocados are good for a lot more than just guacamole!

* Avocados from Mexico contain 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including potassium, vitamins B6, C and E, folate and fiber.

* They contain "Good" fats - mono- and poly-unsaturated fats; good substitutes for dairy and mayo.

* Only 50 calories per ounce!

*Only 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving; great for some low-carb diets.

*Rich in B-complex vitamins for supporting memory and brain function. You better eat one quick so you don't forget all these facts!


I  had so much fun over the weekend experimenting with avocados in both new and old recipes. I am being honest ya'll. At first, I wasn't sure about some uses, such as in mac n'cheese...but holy guacamole! I was impressed!

Stay tuned this week as I unveil a few new. lean avocado recipes to try!

To learn more about Avocados from Mexico, please visit http://www.avocadosfrommexico.com/ ! They even have some great "Back to School" recipes too! Check them out!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cooking Light with Rachael Ray: Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss

This recipe comes from Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals segment; so automatically it got my attention. I am confident that all of you can relate to being in a time crunch pretty much ALL of the time. Still, I have said it before and I will say it again, that doesn't mean we can't make a delicious and nutritious meal for ourselves and/or our families. Proof in point, I give you a lightened version of Rachael's Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss.


CHICKEN PICCATA PASTA TOSS
Serves 6


INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/3 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1  tablespoon "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" 
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup LOW SODIUM/FAT FREE chicken broth 
3 tablespoons capers, drained (or 5 tbsp if you LOVE capers like my hubby & I do : ) )
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound WHOLE GRAIN penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente
Chopped or snipped chives, for garnish
FAT FREE Olive Oil Cooking Spray




DIRECTIONS:


Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat with olive oil cooking spray and add the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon "ICBINB", the garlic and shallots to the skillet. Saute garlic and shallots 3 minutes. Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid 1 minute. Whisk lemon juice and broth into sauce. Stir in capers and parsley. Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Top with fresh snipped chives.
RESULTS:

My husband, Rudy, makes a killer Chicken Piccata. He tailored his recipe off of my Mom's even more impressive Chicken Piccata dish. Needless to say, the pressure was on to perform with this one! Well, with Rachael's simple instructions and my subtle yet substantive modifications, I had no problem making this dish a success. The other fun thing about this recipe is that it calls for wine; which makes me feel like some kind of gourmet chef when I pour it into the pan. You gotta love that!

I think you will really enjoy this dish. Not only is it quick, healthy and delicious...it is affordable too. For less than $15, you can have this filling meal for up to 6 people. Not bad!


ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 425.33 calories;  6.93g fat;  59.58g carbohydrate;  30.89g protein;  10.47g fiber



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Movie Munchies

First, allow me to set the stage. It's a cloudy afternoon. The little one is napping, the husband is at work; the perfect time to curl up on the couch and watch a chick-flick. As I sit here writing this post, about to order Dear John, I can't help but think of the perfect snack to go pair with my matinee. What is it about movies that makes us want to munch? It is almost impossible to go to a movie theater without ordering something. It is even more difficult to resist temptation in the comfort of our own living rooms. Whatever it is, it happens. You can be strong and resist the urge to enjoy a snack OR you can decide to live a little! Treat yourself to a snack. Just make it a good one!

Here are a few of my favorite smart movie munchies:


Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Popcorn - Butter or Kettle Corn (100 calorie mini-bags)

Hershey's York Peppermint Miniatures - 3 pieces (150 calories & 3 g/fat)

Edy's Vanilla Slow Churned Yogurt Blends - 1/2 cup (100 calories & 3 g/fat) Add fruit to boost nutrition; sliced peaches or fresh raspberries.

Baked Tostito & Salsa - one serving (150 calories & 3 g/fat) -Also try other Baked! varieties. I LOVE the Cheetos!

Veggies & Dip - Take a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing & mix with FAT FREE sour cream for a guilt-free dip!

So, there are some of my favs! Today, I am going for a classic movie treat; popcorn. Gotta go and get it poppin'. It's movie time!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cooking Light with Bobby Flay: Mesa Grill's Southwestern Potato Salad

Bobby, you had me at "potato salad". The best potato salad in the world is made by my Mother-in-Law, Debbie Rudolph. The next best potato salad in the world is this one; Bobby Flay's Southwestern Potato Salad. It is ridiculous! Be ready...it is a bit on the spicy side. For me, that's not a problem. If spicy isn't your thing, just cut back on the amount of chipotle puree and you will be fine. The flavors just pop with this one. I can't wait for you all to try it!


MESA GRILL'S SOUTHWESTERN POTATO SALAD
Makes 8 servings


INGREDIENTS:


1 1/2 cups HELLMANN'S LOW-FAT mayonnaise dressing

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chipotle pepper puree
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 new potatoes, about 3 to 4 pounds, cooked, drained and sliced


DIRECTIONS:


Combine all the ingredients, except the potatoes, in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place warm potatoes in a large bowl and pour the mixture over potatoes and mix well. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste.




RESULTS:


Making this lean is so simple. Since it is mostly made of fresh ingredients, all that needs to be done is to substitute my favorite, Hellmann's Low-Fat Mayonnaise Dressing, for regular mayo. That's it!


I will share with you the general consensus of the house; this potato salad is best served warm. We took sample bites right after throwing it together and LOVED IT! I put it in the refrigerator until dinner an hour later and opinions changed. Everyone wanted to heat it up. So, you decide. But here at the Rudolph house, we vote for Warm Southwestern Potato Salad.


As mentioned earlier, beware of the spice. Those chipotles will getcha! One tablespoon of the puree would be enough to give great flavor without burning your tongue off. At the same time, it isn't unbearable with 2 tablespoons. Everyone is different. If you aren't sure, start with 1 tablespoon and test it. You can always add to, but it's not as easy to take away.


ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 199.75 calories;  3.52g fat;  42.74g carbohydrate;  3.55g protein;  3.81g fiber

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cooking Light's Healthy Cook of the Year Could Be ME!

Cooking Light Magazine was doing a casting call for healthy cooks, so you know I just had to give it a try. Well, the good news was delivered yesterday and I have been named as one of 8 Semi-Finalists for the Cooking Light Healthy Cook of the Year Casting Call!! I am over-the-top excited about this. I mean, cooking light (or lean) is my thing! Being selected is such an honor, but the work has just begun. Here is where I really need your help!

The names of the Eight Semi-Finalists and their video submissions will be posted on the Cooking Light website, www.cookinglight.com/castingcall, on August 23, 2010, where the public may vote for their favorite entry. Public voting begins 12:01 A.M. EST on August 23, 2010 and ends 11:59 P.M. EST on September 8, 2010. You can vote once a day, every day...so please do! It will only take a few seconds. OK, maybe a minute, tops. That's it!

If chosen as one of the four finalists, they will fly me to Atlanta for the Taste of Atlanta event on October 23, 2010. There, I will participate in a filmed cook-off and compete for the title of Cooking Light's Healthy Cook of the Year! What does this mean? It means I would receive a nice little $ prize, but most importantly, I could become a regular contributor to Cooking Light Magazine and cookinglight.com!!!

Isn't this exciting?!!? Needless to say, I am extremely excited about this! I could get carried away about how much this means to me, but I'll keep it short and sweet. Please take a moment to vote, allowing me a chance to get one step closer toward pursuing my passion and reaching my dreams.

THANK YOU!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Sour Cream Pork Chops with Vidalia Onion Gravy

I will be the first to admit, chicken is my go-to protein of choice. It's what I feel most comfortable with cooking, plus everyone in the house loves it. I can't go wrong. However, in the beginning, the purpose of this blog was to branch out, try new things and spread my culinary wings. So, in efforts to stick with my intentions, I chose a pork chop recipe. It turns out; pork chops are easier to cook than chicken. What have I been waiting for?


My sister Molly helped me to do a little video to go along with this one too. ENJOY!

SOUR CREAM PORK CHOPS WITH VIDALIA ONION GRAVY
Makes 4 Servings




INGREDIENTS:


Fat Free Olive Oil Cooking Spray
4 (1-1/2 to 2-inch-thick) boneless pork chops
1-1/2 cups sliced Vidalia onions, separated in rings
1 cup Low-Sodium Fat Free beef broth
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 ounce) container FAT FREE sour cream


Hot cooked rice (suggested: UNCLE BEN'S WHOLE GRAIN RICE: Microwavable-ready in 90 seconds)
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley


DIRECTIONS:


Coat a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray and place it on the stove over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Place the onions over the chops.


In a small bowl, combine broth, parsley, salt, pepper, mustard and paprika. Pour broth over the pork chops and onions. Return mixture to a boil. Reduce to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour cream until blended and cook for 4-5 minutes. Do not boil. This is simply to heat the gravy through after adding the cold sour cream.


Serve over cooked rice and garnish with parsley.


RESULTS:


This dish was so simple and so delicious! I would recommend adding the paprika. It adds that perfect amount of flavor to complete the chops. Don't get me wrong, it is still good without the paprika, but for our taste buds, paprika is where it's at!


As shown in the video, I am a huge fan of Uncle Ben's microwaveable rice. You can cook it right in the bag and it only takes 90 SECONDS! That is so great for a busy mommy like myself and I am sure there are tons of you out there who can relate.

NUTRITION FACTS(per serving): 245 calories;  6g fat;  18g carbohydrate;  28g protein; 1g fiber



**Original recipe taken from Paula Deen's Best Dishes-2010, page20: Hoffman Media Publication

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cooking Light with Rachael Ray: Stacked Caprese Sticks

To me, not much comes close to this! I could eat Caprese anything all day, every day for the rest of my life. OK, maybe that is a little over-the-top, but you get the point.
This recipe is loaded with naturally healthy and delicious tomatoes and basil. Yes, there is some mozzarella, but everything is good for you in moderation. I'll show you how we can do this in my trimmed version of Rachel Ray's Stacked Caprese Sticks.


STACKED CAPRESE STICKS
Makes 12 servings or sticks


INGREDIENTS:


•12 bamboo skewers (8-inch)
•24 grape tomatoes
•36 basil leaves
•12 bocconcini (bite-size pieces of mozzarella; available in tubs near Italian cheeses in the grocery store)
•Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
•Salt and black pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:


Cut each piece of bocconcini in half, making 24 pieces of mozzarella.
On each skewer, begin with basil, then mozzarella, then tomato. Repeat sequence and end with a final piece of basil.
Drizzle the sticks with EVOO (don't get carried away here; a tbsp or two), salt, and pepper.


RESULTS:


So, what did I do to make this dish healthier? I didn't cut the EVOO or go for a reduced-fat cheese. How's this the "lean" option? All we did was increase the tomato to cheese ratio. Instead of one tomato to one bocconcini ball, we are now getting two tomatoes. Plus, the additional basil adds to your Daily Value for vitamin K, A and C, as well as calcium and iron. So, in this case, we are adding more food instead of cutting back, yet we are upping the nutritional value; essentially making it a healthier version of the original recipe! More food + better for me = SCORE!

By literally cutting the cheese in half, we are making it stretch; getting a little more bang for our buck. The extra-virgin olive oil delivers heart-healthy fats that are essential for a balanced diet. To be perfectly honest, if you are getting your "healty fats" elsewhere, these caprese sticks are delicious just as is; minus the EVOO, salt and pepper. Just the fresh flavors alone are enough to get your taste buds tap dancing.


I can't end this post without giving credit to the beautiful woman who chose this great recipe and "leaned it out" for us; my Mom, Emily. We had such a great time making these last weekend for my Dad's birthday. And ya'll should have had the BBQ she made! Holy smokes! They may have only been living in NC for a short time, but she knows how to make a killer pulled pork BBQ. WOW!


Mom, thanks for bringing the family together for such a wonderful time! I love you! See you soon!


Enjoy the caprese sticks! They are delish...or YUM-O, as our girl Rachael would say.

NUTRITION FACTS (per caprese stick): 72.75 calories;  5.7g fat;  .62g carbohydrate;  6.14g protein;  .19g fiber

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Smart Dining-Out Decisions

As much as I love to cook and have a wonderful meal at home, we tend to dine out quite a bit. Whether it is because we are traveling, out of food at home or just don't feel like cookin', there is still no excuse to forget about eating well (unless this is your cheat meal, which we'll discuss next Tuesday).

Cynthia Sass, R.D. and contributor to Shape Magazine, wrote an article (July 2010, page 38) with some easy steps for dining out without gaining a pound. Here are some of hers...along with some of my own.

1~Replace the butter and syrup on your pancakes or waffles with sliced, fresh fruit (Sass).

2~ Sub steamed veggies or fresh fruit for fries (Me).

3~In a chopped salad (one of my favs), exchange the blue cheese for feta cheese and skip the dried cranberries and candied walnuts (Sass).

4~Leave off the mayo-based sauces. Instead go for yellow mustard, salsa or light vinaigrette (Me).

5~Just do soft-serve ice cream in a cup, minus the waffle cone, sprinkles and other toppings (Sass).

6~Hold the bun. Great sandwiches such as burgers, grilled chicken and crab cakes are fantastic on their own. Save the 250 calories (Me).

7~Trade the flour tortilla on your burrito for a bed of lettuce (Sass).

8~Go for a red sauce on your pasta instead of a white, cream-based sauce (Me).

9~Instead of standard or deep-dish pepperoni pizza, opt for thin crust with veggies or grilled chicken (Sass).

10~Go for grilled. If a sandwich or salad is served with breaded and fried proteins, ask for the grilled version(Me).

Dining out is fun! It's fun to get dressed up, go out and see people, enjoy the atmosphere and not have to worry about cleaning up the kitchen after finishing your meal. I love going out to eat. I am a huge fan! Yet I always keep these little strategies in mind. On occasion, I bank enough to indulge in some dessert! Try a few tricks, and then have a treat. I bet you like the sound of that!

Do you have a dining-out tip you use? Please share with us!



Monday, August 16, 2010

Lindsay's Lean: Oatmeal Apple Cream Pies

I am no where near food celebrity status, but a girl can dream, right? Instead of modifying a big-time food star recipe today, I decided to put a twist on an original recipe by little ol' me.

Today I wanted to share with you the lighter version of my Real Women of Philadelphia award winning cookies; Oatmeal Apple Cream Pies. Inspiration for these cookies stemmed from Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies (which I loved as a child) and a major local product in my home town...apples. Together, with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, I was able to create a new dessert with familiar flavors people love.

OATMEAL APPLE CREAM PIES
Makes 12

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies~
 1/3 cup(s) of butter (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)

 1/2 cup(s) of brown sugar
 1/4 cup(s) of granulated sugar
 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon
 1 egg
 1/2 tsp. of vanilla
 3/4 cup(s) of flour
 1 cup(s) of rolled oats
 2/3 cup(s) of apples; peeled and chopped

Cream Cheese Filling~

8 ounce(s) of FAT FREE Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 stick "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
 1/4 cup(s) of apple butter
2 cup(s) of powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:
 
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

The apple-butter cream cheese mixture MUST be made first.  With a hand mixer, mix Philadelphia Cream Cheese, ½ stick of butter and apple butter. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Place in the refrigerator immediately. Mixture needs to become more solid for easier spreading.

To make the cookies, start by mixing 1/3 cup of butter in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Once mixed, beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour. Stir in oats and apples.

Drop cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (12 per batch= 2 batches). Bake for 8-10 minutes; allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the apple-butter & Philadelphia Cream Cheese mixture from the refrigerator and spread mixture on the bottom side of one cookie; making a sandwich with another. Continue making "cookie sandwiches" until there are 12.

Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. ENJOY!

RESULTS:

I have made these cookies a gazillion times! Believe me! I have made them both in the full version and in the lighter version. Seriously, you will not miss a thing using ICBINB or FAT FREE CREAM CHEESE, except for the fat, that is. I would love to hear what you think of these treats. Give them a try and share YOUR results.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cooking Light with Ina Garten: Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is one of those flavors that you either love or can't stand. I am a lover of goat cheese, so when I saw this recipe...it was without a question going to be the next recipe on my "to-try" list.


Goat cheese has a strong flavor, which means a little goes a long way. Since goat cheese doesn't come in a light or reduced-fat variety (at least that's the case in my market), I was able to stretch just 2 ounces of full-fat goat cheese by combining it with fat free cream cheese. This allows us to still hang on to the creamy, rich flavor of the goat cheese while shaving 80 grams of fat off the entire recipe!


To see Ina Garten's (AKA Barefoot Contessa) original recipe for Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese, click here.


CHICKEN WITH HERBED GOAT CHEESE
Serves 4


INGREDIENTS:


4 (6-ounce)boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 ounces FAT FREE PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
2 ounces herbed goat cheese
fresh basil leaves
Paula's House Seasoning (see bottom of page for recipe)


DIRECTIONS:


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and goat cheese.
Place chicken on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. With a knife, cut a slit along the side; making a pocket for the stuffing. Evenly fill each of the chicken breasts with the cream cheese and goat cheese mixture. Cover mixture with one to two basil leaves and fold chicken over. Sprinkle each chicken breast with a pinch of house seasoning.


Bake for roughly 20 minutes; until cooked through. Serve immediately. ENJOY!


RESULTS:


We loved this dish. It is simple, yet elegant. In less than an hour, you can have a healthy meal that dresses up the boring baked chicken breast. I couldn't believe how much fat could be cut out by using a fat free cream cheese and goat cheese blend. Plus, choosing a boneless, skinless chicken breast will also provide major savings. That is about as lean as it gets when it comes to chicken.


For a side dish, I suggest oven-roasted asparagus with EVOO, a little minced onion and a pinch or two of house seasoning. At 375, they can be ready in the same amount of time as the chicken. How's that for an easy dinner?


I hope you enjoy this dish. It will be making a repeat appearance in our house, for sure!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 230.25 calories; 5.25g fat;  2.52g carbohydrate;  43.51g protein; .03g fiber

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Feeling Great at Any Weight

Today’s post is short and sweet, yet hopefully speaks volumes. I've been hearing stories of women who don’t want to go places because they have put on a little weight or they haven’t shed those post-baby pounds yet. They allow that number on the scale to dictate their entire mood, self-worth and essentially, their lives. Are you telling me that some lousy pounds have that much control over us?

It’s time to take a stand against those pounds. Sure, we know when they are there, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to, nor should they see the disappointment in our sour faces. A little weight fluctuation happens to the best of us. In my opinion, if you didn't put on 5 pounds on your vacation, then you didn't have a real vacation. So, get it together! Put on something you feel beautiful and comfortable in; accessorize with some great earrings or a knock-out pair of shoes. Do your hair. Put on a little make-up if you so choose. Most importantly…smile. Do those things and you will light up the room. Not a single soul will notice those “extra” pounds, especially you. Plus, that positive attitude will help you along your weight loss journey (just a little side bonus).

Don’t put off your life and happiness for a number on a scale. Life is too short. Embrace your body at any weight and be happy. That is truly beautiful.



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Double-Play Sunday: Tomato Sandwiches and Back in Black Cocktail

Since both of these are so simple, I figured ya'll could handle two recipes in one. That, and if I just chose just one of these recipes, the video would only be about 10-20 seconds long.
Anyhow, Rachael Ray's Back in Black cocktail is a lean libation (AKA light ADULT beverage). Anyone else have a hard time reading "Back in Black" without wanting to sing it? My neighbor Claire will drink vodka and coke on occasion, which always strikes me as a little strange (sorry, Claire). To me, when I think of vodka, I think tonic...or martini...or something fruity; not coke. However, as you will see, I was pleasantly surprised.
Paula Deen's tomato sandwiches are just amazing. Plain and simple. Get a great tomato and it will make the sandwich. The recipe is so easy; holding proof that delicious doesn't always mean complicated. ENJOY!





LEAN LIBATION: BACK IN BLACK


INGREDIENTS ~


•1 1/2 oz Vodka


•1/2 oz Rose's® Triple Sec


• DIET Cola (Diet Coke)
 
DIRECTIONS ~


Combine first 2 ingredients in an ice-filled old fashioned glass. Top off with cola and garnish with lime.




PAULA DEEN'S LEAN: TOMATO SANDWICHES


INGREDIENTS ~


3 ounces FAT FREE Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons LOW FAT Hellmann's mayonnaise dressing
1 tablespoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 slices WHOLE WHEAT WHITE light bread
4 large tomatoes; cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
salt and pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS ~


In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, dill and garlic powder. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over one side of 4 bread slices; layer with sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with remaining bread slices. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving; 1 sandwich): 145.25 calories;  1.4g fat;  28.2g carbohydrate;  8.79g protein;  9.3g fiber


**Original recipe from Paula Deen's Best Dishes-2010, page 29: Hoffman Media Publication

Friday, August 6, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Bobby's Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is oh-so-yummy! I absolutely love little pimento cheese finger sandwiches at any party I attend or throw. It is really hard for me to practice self-control and just have one. Let's get real, it's IMPOSSIBLE! So, if you also suffer from an inability to eat these cheesy nibbles in moderation, then you will love this healthy twist to the Pimento Cheese Sandwich. Of course, I encourage portion control...but we all have our weaknesses. At least I can feel good about packing these full of whole wheat goodness, powerful protein and a bit of calcium just for kicks!


PIMENTO CHEESE MINI-SANDWICHES
Yields 12 mini sandwiches


INGREDIENTS:
4 ounces FAT FREE Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 cup FAT FREE shredded KRAFT Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup 2% shredded KRAFT Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 cup HELLMANN'S Low-Fat Mayonnaise Dressing
1/2 teaspoon Paula's House Seasoning (see bottom of page)
3 tablespoons mashed pimentos
Cracked black pepper to taste


12 slices WHOLE WHEAT white bread


DIRECTIONS:
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add remaining cheese and beat until well mixed. Add remaining ingredients and beat until well-blended.
Spread cheese mixture evenly over six slices of bread. Top each with another slice of bread; making the sandwich. Gently cut off the edges; then slice in half diagonally. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready!

 
RESULTS:
I just love these finger sandwiches to begin with, but even with leanin' it out, they still taste delicious. I guarantee these will be a hit! They are the perfect party snack for your next celebration. Plus, they are super easy! Make them the night before and cut down on the running around the day of.


ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 144.25 calories;  5.2g fat;  13.5g carbohydrate; 9.4g protein; 1.9g fiber

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: White Wheat

I love a good sandwich. Whether it is just a good old fashioned grilled cheese or a PB & J, bread is an essential part of the sandwich. With recent low-carb crazes, bread has been the enemy. Yet carbohydrates, such as the ones found in bread, are a necessary nutrient for a balanced diet.

Not all breads are made equal. Some are stripped of all the good stuff as a result of the refining process, while others are packed with fiber and grains. We like to eat "white wheat" in our house. It looks and tastes like white bread, however it claims to be made with more fiber, therefore it is better for us. I decided to do a little more bread research to make sure we really are making a smart choice with "white wheat". Here is what I found...

As long as the bread is labeled "White WHOLE Wheat", then it is a better choice. Regular white breads are made with refined grains, which go through a process that strips out certain parts of the grain. But white whole-wheat bread — like regular whole-wheat bread — is made with the whole grain.

The great news is that the bread we are eating is just as nutritious as whole-wheat AND it tastes great! Bonus! On that note, I just might make myself a peanut butter and honey...on White Whole Wheat!



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