Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cookin' Lean with Hellmann's: 100 Year Anniversary Recipes

We LOVE Hellmann's in the Cookin' Lean Kitchen. But long before we started using it in our lean recipes in 2009, Hellmann's has brought together the best ingredients - such as oil, vinegar and now cage-free eggs - to help bring out the best meals and moments to America's tables...for 100 years! Like I mentioned, we LOVE Hellmann's here, especially the varieties created to keep recipes light, such as Hellman's mayonnaise made with olive oil, Hellmann's Light and my personal favorite, Hellmann's Low Fat Mayonnaise Dressing. Over the years, these Hellmann's products have made it possible to easily create lean makeovers to some of my favorite dishes, like Paula's Loaded Deviled Eggs and Jamie's Chicken Salad ...just to name a couple.

Well since we LOVE Hellmann's so much around here and use it all the time, you can understand how thrilled I was to participate in Hellmann's 100 Year Anniversary Celebration. To celebrate its 100th birthday, Hellmann's is teaming up with celebrity chef Mario Batali to showcase how decades of delicious meals start with real, quality ingredients. Mario has given a modern twist to six classic Hellmann's recipes ranging from Fiery Chipotle Deviled Eggs to Hellmann's Chocolate Birthday Cake. Mayonnaise in a birthday cake?!?! Who knew!

Mario was able to put some of his own twists on Hellmann's Classic recipes. His ideas of adding spicy chipotle to deviled eggs or using Hellmann's inside of a burger to create his Juicy Salsa Burger really got me thinking about new ways to reinvent the recipes we love. Of course this inspired me! That's what we do in the Cookin' Lean kitchen. We take inspiration from recipes we love and make them to fit our likes and needs. Being a part of this 100th birthday celebration was a must for me!

So in honor of Hellmann's 100th Anniversary, I put my twists on some of Mario's recipes to create another version that is uniquely me. Because I couldn't narrow it down to one, yet I teach all day and can't squeeze in six recipes...I chose two delicious lookin' dishes to add my twists to his:

Fiery Chipotle Deviled Eggs
A Classic, the Batali Way
Mario gives Hellmann’s® classic deviled eggs a spicy kick.
Makes: 24 halves      Prep time: 15 min      Cook time: 15 min
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise Dressing with Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • cilantro leaves

 and his:

Chicken Pasta Salad with Green Olives and Raisins
Old Favorite, New Twists
Mario Batali puts his special spin on Hellmann’s® delicious chicken salad.
Serves: 8      Prep time: 10 min      Cook time: 15 min
  • 1 lb. bow-tie pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 3/4 cup green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise Dressing with Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (or more to taste)

Those are Mario's take on Hellmann's classic recipes. Check out what I did to make mine!!

Recipe Remake # 1...

Makes: 24 Halves
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's LOW FAT Mayonnaise Dressing
  • 1.5 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves
  • 2-3 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled

Place eggs in a single layer saucepan. Add cold water to cover my 3 inches. Bring to a boil and cover. Remove from the heat and let stand for 9 minutes.

Drain immediately and fill the saucepan with ice and water. Tap each egg on the counter (with some muscle) and peel the eggs under running water.
Slice the eggs in half and carefully remove the yolk.

Place the yolk in a medium size mixing bowl. Add Hellmann's Low Fat Mayonnaise Dressing, chipotle sauce and raspberry preserves. Mix well.

Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg halves (or use a piping bag if desired). Top with a little pinch of crumbled bacon and serve!

Recipe Remake # 2...

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

  • 1 lb. pasta (bow-tie, rigatoni, large macaroni...just not spaghetti-type pasta)
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 3/4 cup Greek Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cubed (half for salad, half for dressing)
  • 4 ounces Feta Cheese
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's LOW FAT Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Cook the pasta according to box instructions and set aside to cool.

Add oil, chicken and onions to a hot pan. Cook until the chicken if fully cooked and the onions are soft. Set this aside to cool as well.

In a blender, combine all ingredients listed below "Dressing", including 1/2 of the peeled and cubed cucumber. Blend until all ingredients are combined.
Now you have the dressing!

In a large bowl, add the cooled pasta, chicken, onions, olives, tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese.

Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Garnish with some dill. Serve and enjoy!

Those are my twists to Mario's fabulous dishes. Now you can visit Facebook  to watch Mario share his modern twist on some of Hellmann's classic recipes and ENTER TO WIN a seat at the Blue Ribbon table in NYC for Hellmann's 100th Birthday celebration.

Join us at the Hellmann's Blue Ribbon table by co-creating a recipe with Mario and enter for a chance to win a seat at the World's Longest Picnic Table for Hellmann's 100th birthday celebration in September. Get started HERE!

Join the fun! Your recipe could win you a trip to NYC!!

Good luck!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cooking Light with Giada De Laurentiis: S'more Brownies with Habital (Review & Giveaway)

As you may already know, the Cookin' Lean Kitchen is all about taking decadent recipes and making them a little bit healthier. Typically this means finding healthy ways to cut down on butter and sugars, while finding ways to substitute healthier grains or adding more vegetables and fruits.

There are lots of secrets and tricks to cookin' lean, but one that I am always seeking new options for is in the area of sweetening. When I look to reduce sugar in a recipe, I always lean toward the most natural form of sweetening. The more natural the sweetener, the healthier it is for us. Therefore, when the owners of Habitall approached me about their product, I was all for learning more and trying it out.

A Little About Habitall ...

  • Habitall is an ALL-NATURAL, LOW-CALORIE sweetener made from three natural ingredients: erythritol,polydextrose and monk fruit.
  • It can be used for cooking and baking.
  • Measures and pours like real sugar (seriously, it really looks like sugar. That's one of the first things I noticed).
  • Very low in calories ~ Only 0.34 calories per gram
  • Diabetic friendly, ranking zero on the glycemic index.

To test out the abilities and taste of this product, I went straight for the desserts. I mean, if brownies can be made well with this stuff, we could have something here, right?

The recipe of choice for my trial of Habitall is Giada's S'more Brownies. Rich chocolate brownies topped with marshmallows and crushed graham crackers? Yes please!!

Serves 12
Original Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis


  • 1 stick "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter", at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup HABITALL
  • 1/2 cup Egg Substitute (equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 large graham crackers, finely crushed
  • Non-Fat Baking Spray


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a small square baking dish with non-fat cooking spray.

Heat the "ICBINB" in a small saucepan over low heat.

Remove the pan from the heat and add 3/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in HABITALL, eggs substitute and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flours until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.

Pour batter into dish. Spread the marshmallows across the batter, pushing them down slightly. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the marshmallows.

Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and light golden, about 20 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes and serve.


The recipe is a winner! They were rich and delicious, as any brownie should be. On top of that, they were lower in calories and higher in fiber thanks to the sweetening power of HABITALL.  As far as baking abilities, it works like true sugar. It is simple to substitute because if a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, then you simply use one cup of HABITALL. It's that simple! Let's see how this recipe measured up according to nutrition facts...

NUTRITION FACTS (Per serving of one brownie):

Before~ 326.5 calories / 20.7g fat / 33g carbohydrate / 3.7g protein / .6g fiber

After~ 172.5 calories / 8g fat / 29g carbohydrate / 3g protein / 3g fiber

Saves~ 154 calories / 12.7g fat / 4 carbohydrates 
              + 2.4g fiber

Founders and Owners~ Corey and Michelle Winer
Habitall is a new company that is now campaigning to earn funds to bring Habitall to the marketplace at a fair retail price. To learn more about the company, product, the owners and how you can potentially help bring Habitall to a store near you, please visit HERE!

* Recipe is modified version of S'more Brownie Bites by Giada De Laurentiis. This post is based on my opinion and facts provided by Habitall. This is not a paid post.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lean Libation: Rachael Ray's White Sangria

Nothing says sunshine like a fresh pitcher of Sangria! I don't know about you, but the ladies around here love to get together and share a pitcher (or two) of this fun, summer libation when the weather starts to warm up. And the weather is warming up!! As we know, many of the fruity, fun cocktails we love are also loaded with sugar, carbs and calories. Actually knowing the number of calories in each margarita or glass of sangria you have is good, but it can also seriously take the fun out of it!

Well, I am happy to share this slim sangria with you so that fun with friends is the only thing on your mind. It is Rachael Ray's White Sangria recipe, with a few twists. I'm no mericle worker, so there are still calories. But switching a couple of ingredients around create a lean libation for your next backyard or poolside celebration. CHEERS!

Serves You and 3-4 Lucky Friends...2 glasses each!


  • 3 tablespoons SPLENDA
  • 3 shots Motts for Tots Apple Juice (reduced sugar)
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
  • 3 ripe green apples seeded and cut into wedges
  • 1 bottle white Rioja Spanish wine or other dry white wine
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • Sprite Zero or Diet Ginger Ale, for topping off glasses of sangria at table


    Combine SPLENDA, apple juice, lime, lemon, peaches and apples in a large pitcher. Cover with 1 bottle of white wine and chill sangria several hours. To serve to your guests, spoon fruits into glasses or goblets, adding a few fresh raspberries in each glass, pour wine over top of the fruit. Top glasses of sangria off with a splash of SPRITE ZERO or diet ginger ale and serve.


    Yummy! It is sweet and refreshing....a wonderful libation to sip on during the spring and summer months. The fresh fruit and juice add wonderful flavors to the wine. Even for those that are not "wine drinkers", I still feel this recipe is worth a shot!

    The changes were simple. I left out the apple liquor from the original recipe, swapped SPLENDA for sugar and used zero calorie sprite instead of sugary soda. All are very subtle changes that add up if you have more than one glass...and I can guarentee you will!

    Nutrition Facts (per delicious glass **w/fruit garnish):

    Before~ 173 calories and 26 carbohydrates

    After~ 106 calories and 16 carbohydrates

    SAVES!~  67 calories and 10 carbohydrates

    **If you choose not to eat the fruit, you will save even more. The nutrition facts include the fruit...not just the juice.


    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    Cooking Light with Rachael Ray: Tuna Melt Mac n' Cheese

    Tuna Noodle Casserole was a weekly dish in my house growing up. Mom loved to make it and we loved to eat it. It was a win-win for the cook and the kids! Tuna Noodle Casserole is now one of those dishes that instantly takes me back to the comforts of childhood. Another dish that has that effect? Mac N' Cheese! Rachael managed to pull two of my childhood favorites into a dish that fits young and mature taste buds alike.

    Bring these two classics together in your grown-up kitchen by trying out a lighter version of Rachael's TUNA MELT MAC N' CHEESE! You're gonna love it!

    Serves 6

  • 1 pound WHOLE WHEAT elbows with lines
  • 1-1/2 TBSP EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 TBSP "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" Light Spread
  • 12 ounces canned tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • About 2 1/2 cups NON-FAT/SKIM milk
  • 2 cups grated REDUCED FAT white Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Cook the pasta to less than al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    In a large bowl, flake the tuna and add the herbs, onions, mustard, celery, lemon juice, EVOO and some salt and pepper.

    Add the pasta and combine well. Transfer to a baking dish or large casserole dish (or individual baking dishes, as pictured at top).

    In a medium saucepan (or sauce pot), melt 2 tablespoons ICBINB. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute. Then whisk in the milk and season with salt and pepper, thicken to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the light white cheddar.

    Pour the sauce evenly over the pasta and tuna. Gently combine with a spoon to settle the sauce.

    Top the casserole with Parm cheese. Bake until golden and hot through (about 10-15 minutes).

    Be sure to watch it; checking frequently after 10 minutes.


    The outcome of this recipe was wonderful! It definitely took me back to my childhood. Now I know I can have the same comforts of the "good ol' days" in a way that fits my nutritional needs of today. Try it out and let me know what you think!

    **If the fat and calories still look a little high for you, you can try using fat-free cheese instead of reduced-fat (or half reduced/half fat-free). That is where you have a little flexibility to make it fit your own cookin' lean standards. Either way, you can't go wrong.

    NUTRITION FACTS (Per Serving)~

    BEFORE~ 885.8 calories / 45.4g fat / 75.5g carbohydrate / 42.3g protein / 4g fiber

    AFTER~ 535 calories / 17g fat / 53g carbohydrate / 39.6g protein / 5.5g fiber

    SAVES~ 350.8 calories / 28.4g fat / 22.5g carbohydrate
    ADDS ~ 1.5g fiber

    Dig in!

    Rachael's Original Recipe for TUNA MELT MAC N' CHEESE.

    Sunday, March 10, 2013

    Cooking Light with Food Network: Apple and Brie Quesadillas

    This blog is all about taking my favorite Food Network star dishes and cookin' them lean. For this post, I am not using a star recipe...but it was featured in Food Network Magazine, which I believe makes it star quality. The truth is that it just looked too flippin' good to pass up! So here it is! My cookin' lean version of a high-end, bowling alley favorite; Lucky Strike's Apple and Brie Quessadillas.

    Recipe adapted from Lucky Strike for Food Network Magazine
    SERVES 4


    • 1 Granny Smith Apple, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" Original Spread
    • 4 8-inch Whole Wheat tortillas
    • 8 ounces LIGHT Brie cheese, sliced (rind removed, if desired)
    • 1 tablespoon whole grain spicy mustard
    • 1 tablespoon light maple syrup
    • 4 tablespoons "Ready to Serve" Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits

    Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1/2 tablespoon "ICBINB", then toss the apple pieces and bacon bits in the melted butter and cook, turning occasionally, until apples are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

    Lay the tortillas on a cutting board. Top each with one-quarter each of the grilled apple/bacon medley and brie on one side, then fold the tortillas in half to cover the filling.

    Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of "ICBINB" in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the quesadillas until golden brown and the cheese melts, about 2 minutes per side.

     Meanwhile, mix the mustard and lite maple syrup in a bowl.

    Slice each quesadilla into wedges. Drizzle with the maple-mustard syrup.


    The major savings in this recipe were incredibly easy. I promise you will feel like you are splurging, not making a lean meal. The flavor is fantastic! We saved by replacing the 4 tbsp of EVOO with just one tbsp of our friend, "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter".  The other big saver was using the light brie in place of the orginal. Let's not forget the calorie saving we get from using light syrup and whole wheat/low-carb tortillas.

    Give this recipe a try and see for yourself how yummy this bowling alley inspired dish really is!

    And check out the calories you will be saving!

    Nutrition Facts(per serving):

    BEFORE~515 calories

    AFTER~  299.75 calories

    SAVES~ 215.25 calories

    If you are looking for an easy dinner or app to throw together...this is it! A little slicing, chopping, sprinkling and stirring and you are looking at a unique twist to a classic everyone loves. Even the kids will love the slightly safisticated taste of this quesadilla. Try it out the next time you are craving something different, but don't have the time to dive into something complicated. Sometimes less is more.


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