Smothered Portobello Mushrooms ~ Clean and Healthy Eating

This one is a "no brainer", as easy as can be and you don't need a written recipe to make it. But I have included it over on my recipe blog in case you want to print it out to save the idea (see link at bottom of this post.) Recipe is adapted from "Clean Eating" magazine.

You'll need one Portobello mushroom for each serving. I gently wipe them to clean any debris, remove the stem but not the gills, although some people prefer to remove the gills too.

Preheat oven to 400˚F  Lightly mist or brush a shallow baking dish with olive oil, place mushrooms (resting on their caps ~ gill side facing up) in the prepared dish.

 Spoon 1/4 cup chunky salsa (your choice) into each mushroom (low-sodium salsa if you wish.)
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced green onion/scallion, both white and green parts, and 1/4 cup shredded, low-fat mozzarella cheese over the salsa in each mushroom. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. 
Optional: Garnish each with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, or a few slivers of green onion.

These make a wonderful first course or main course ~ I served them as a light lunch entree with . . .

Whole-grain tri-color orzo (pasta), slivered onion, flat leaf parsley (cilantro or mint leaves work as well), and  dressed with a lemon vinaigrette, made with just freshly squeezed lemon juice, a dab of Dijon mustard, minced garlic (optional), a tiny drizzle of olive oil & a little salt and freshly ground pepper, all whisked together. 

You could add some toasted pine nuts or walnuts as a garnish to the pasta salad if you like.  It's really straightforward, clean tasting and refreshing.

Surprisingly flavorful, satisfying and delicious with little fat and few calories.  I would definitely make these again. 

If you would like a printable copy of this ultra-simple recipe, please click here.

Hope you enjoy!

Have a blessed day, friends!


Grapefruit-Avocado Salad ~ Healthy & Clean Eating

Yes, in my hemisphere it's winter, but I still enjoy a healthy salad ~ no matter what the weather, and this one utilizes the fruits and vegetables available to us at this time of year.

The base is organic baby arugula, and the toppings are grapefruit supremes (segments without the membrane), sliced avocado ~ I like the rich buttery variety with the thick pebbly skins such as Haas

Then a sprinkling of thinly sliced radishes, sliced scallions and toasted slivered almonds, then a generous shower of freshly ground pepper. I used tri-color pepper blend this time ~ I like the confetti look it adds to the salad. And a good sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to finish.

I usually always trim my own citrus supremes ~ but this time I used the already prepared kind, like these fresh, non-canned ones ~ found in the refrigerator case, usually in the produce department.  They are packed in very lightly sweetened grapefruit juice not too sweet at all, and so convenient.
(This isn't a plug for this particular brand, just look for the kind that must be refrigerated to assure the best quality and taste.)

To bump up the protein you could certainly add some diced or shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, salmon, or other fish.  You could swap out the arugula with baby spinach leaves, and add or substitute orange segments for the grapefruit.

I love everything about this salad, clean tasting, healthy and flavorful.
Low in fat, and the fat it does contain is the good-for-you kind.

If you try it I hope you like it too.

No formal recipe needed, just use what you like, in the amounts that are pleasing to you.  Enjoy!

Approximately 168 calories per serving, about 2 1/2 cups, loosely packed, each


Ranch Dip & Dressing ~ the HEALTHY way

I was pleased to see that a version of very low fat "Lighter Ranch Dip" appears in the current edition of "Everyday Food" magazine because I practically gag on the synthetic taste of the commercial low-fat Ranch Dressing.  I made the EF recipe, and although it is simple to make and healthy it seemed to be lacking flavor, and understandably so ~ that version is seasoned with only thyme leaves, garlic and salt and pepper. That's not ranch as we all know it!

It looked like Ranch Dip/Dressing, but I found the taste quite disappointing. So I played around with the recipe a bit and arrived at my own version which I think is infinitely more flavorful. It requires just a couple of additional ingredients, but those don't add any calories, just more flavor.

While the original recipe called for low-fat Greek-style yogurt, and whole fat mayonnaise ~ I used 0% fat Greek-style yogurt (Fage brand), and Best Foods/Hellman's low fat mayonnaise, further trimming the fat to less than 30 calories, and negligible fat per each serving size (2 slightly heaping tablespoons each.) Of course you could still use the low fat yogurt and whole fat mayo, and it would still be much lower in fat than traditional Ranch Dip.

The additional seasonings I added were minced chives (green stems of scallions/green onions, finely minced, could be substituted), onion powder, minced parsley, and dried dill weed. I also added a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional.) Just those few ingredients made a huge difference in the appeal of this dip. To change the dip into a dressing, simply thin with low or non-fat milk to achieve the consistency you like.

As suggested in the magazine other uses for the lighter dip are:

Sandwich spread, particularly chicken or turkey sandwiches
Substitute for mayonnaise in tuna or chicken salad
Condiment alongside chicken or fish
Dressing for pasta salad

And there is another delicious way I use this, which I'll share shortly in an upcoming post.

If you would like a printable copy of my version of lighter Ranch Dip/Dressing you'll find it on the Once Upon a Plate recipe site.

Thanks for coming by for a visit ~ I hope you have a delicious day!


Italian-Style Turkey Lasagna Roll-Ups ~ Clean Eating

During my quest to shed a few pounds, I almost resigned myself to the frozen food aisle ~ you know; Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, Weight Watchers, etc.  But I couldn't see myself eating that way long term ~ at all.

To me those meals are "okay" in a pinch, but I have never been very satisfied with the flavor or seasonings used in most of them. The tomato based sauces always taste cloyingly sweet, and the remainder of the ingredients are invariably bland in almost all of the entrees, imo. And you just know they don't use the same quality ingredients that you would choose yourself if you were making the dish, plus the fresh taste is missing , not to mention the chemicals and other additives which are incorporated into the frozen meals. :p

 As I said, for me, they are "okay" once in a while ~ BUT

I knew if I was going to stick with this change in my way of eating I was going to have to find a way to make the lower fat/calorie meals way more palatable.

The good news is there are plenty of magazines and cookbooks designed to assist in keeping meals healthy, lean and delicious. 

Here is an example of that kind of recipe; it was originally published in Clean Eating magazine ~ I missed it in the magazine, but

Here's the assembled dish before baking

They are a little time consuming to make, but the good news is that they can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated until you're ready to bake and serve them.
Although I haven't tried it yet, I suspect these would be a good candidate for freezing, either individually or in multiples that would work for your family.

The recipe makes a 8 generously sized rolls so I ended up dividing the recipe in half, and along with a green salad one roll made a good size serving ~ in fact, I couldn't finish the entire roll and the remainder was great reheated for lunch the next day.

To bump the nutrition us you can use either whole wheat lasagna noodles or whole grain. I substituted fresh spinach for frozen that the recipe called for, simply because I had it on hand ~ and the remaining ingredients are:

a small onion, clove of garlic, lean ground turkey breast, 28oz jar of tomatoes in juice, low fat ricotta cheese, an egg, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese. I added some freshly ground black pepper, dried basil and oregano to the sauce, and a tablespoon of red wine as well.

Each roll provides 234 calories, total fat 3g, sat fat 0, carbs 27g, fiber 5g,
sugars 7g, protein 28g, Sodium 508mg, Cholesterol 76mg

And! 90% of your daily vitamin A requirements, plus 366mg calcium. :)

One serving ~ delicious, and more than I could eat at one meal (reheats beautifully)

Definitely a keeper!  I would gladly make these again.

You'll find a printable copy of the recipe is over on Once Upon a Plate ~ The Recipes:   click HERE.


If you would like to learn more about "The Best of Clean Eating" cookbook, just click the link below.  (It's a wonderful cookbook.)

I've been really pleased with this cookbook ~ everything I've tried so far has been very flavorful and easy to prepare and I like the fact that it contains the best of the Clean Eating magazine's recipes all indexed and in one place. If you like flavorful, light and healthy cuisine, I think you'll like this one.


Antipasto Chicken ~ Healthy!

Antipasto Chicken

Yes, there is a grilled chicken breast under there ~ can you see it?

While looking for interesting & healthy recipes for boneless, skinless chicken breasts I came across this one on the Food Network website. I changed it a bit by grilling the chicken rather than cooking it in a skillet, I also changed up the ingredients in the antipasto relish topping; and instead of cooking the antipasto ingredients I just stirred the ingredients together and spooned it over the grilled & plated chicken hot off the grill.

Trust me when I tell you no recipe is needed for this one ~ just grill or pan sear the chicken until done. While the chicken is cooking stir together the antipasto topping in a small bowl. Plate up the chicken and spoon the antipasto over the top and enjoy.

I served a lightly dressed (lemon juice, drizzle of olive oil & salt and pepper) arugula salad alongside.

The ingredients I used for the antipasto mix ~

Peperoncini, minced parsley, marinated artichoke hearts (including some of the marinade), chopped bell pepper ~any color, and grape (cherry tomatoes, or diced ripe tomatoes would work too.) The recipe called for canned, sliced black ripe olives but I had the tiny French Niçoise olives on hand so I used those, and added a few cocktail onions, cut in half. After spooning the antipasto mix over the chicken I crumbled a couple of tiny cubes of feta cheese over all.  Though I didn't include them I think capers would also be a great addition.
 Of course, you can omit or add any ingredients according to your own taste.

Because the antipasto mix is salty, I didn't sprinkle salt on the chicken prior to grilling, I just brushed it with a little olive oil mixed with some crushed dried oregano (or basil) and sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper prior to grilling. 

So easy to put together ~ low in calories/fat, too.  

I really liked this combination and would definitely make it again ~ It would be fabulous during warm weather served at room temperature as well.

If you give it a try I hope you enjoy it too.
Have a delicious day! ~m.  


Healthy Turkey Mini-Meatballs with Honey-Chipotle Glaze

I'm not much into New Year's resolutions

And although January is speeding by, the start of a new year seems to be a good a time as any to begin a change of lifestyle, yes?   Yes!

Usually I avoid stepping the the bathroom scale (can you say denial?!) Yes.
But with trepidation I did step up, and you know what? The numbers staring back at me weren't nearly as dreadful as I thought they might be. Yay!
My goal is to lose 20 pounds and I'll be very happy to be feeling better, more energetic and fit back into those 6/8's at the far corner of my closet, which haven't seen the light of day in far too long. :)

So I'm two weeks into a change of eating habits and feeling better already. 

Here's my plan:

To prepare and eat more "clean" type recipes ~  (Fresh, healthful, and lighter in calories and fat), while trying to reduce processed foods.  So far it's been easy, and no deprivation or feeling hungry at all.

This is a recipe which fits the criteria  ~ I tried and really liked it, you may like it too, I don't think anyone would reject it as being "diet" food because it's delicious ~ slightly spicy, slightly sweet and very satisfying.

The recipe as I originally found it in "Everyday Food" magazine ~ was for typical golf-ball size meatballs. But I'm more of a " snacky" kind of person, so I made them mini-size (about 1-inch in diameter) ~ perfect no-guilt party size munchies. Plus you get more of the yummy glaze per bite when you make them smaller!

The recipe is so simple . . . for the meatballs the ingredients are just lean ground turkey, minced onion, minced garlic, and salt and pepper, gently mixed together.  No breadcrumbs or eggs necessary ~ but you could certainly add any herbs you like ~ thyme, sage, etc. I didn't bother this time and they were perfectly flavorful.

Once the meat is mixed form into any size meatballs you like, brown them in a tiny bit of olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. Place in a 375˚F oven for a few minutes.

While the meatballs are in the oven chop a tablespoon or two of chipotle peppers  in adobo sauce (from the can), and mix with 2 Tablespoons of honey, heat and stir together to blend and warm. Remove the meatballs from the oven, pour the glaze over and swirl the pan to coat evenly. Allow to simmer for just a moment or two on the stovetop to reduce the glaze slightly, then serve and enjoy.

Only 149 calories per portion, 7 grams fat, 17 g protein and wonderful flavor, too.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe please click HERE.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend everyone!



Healthy Spicy Spinach Dip with Pine Nuts

Feeling a little guilty after the holiday indulgences?
Well, here's a delicious little treat that you can enjoy with a clear conscience ~ A perfect little nibble with your favorite beverage, and it would make a great choice for a Superbowl party, too.

First a small amount of finely minced onion is sauteed with 1/4 cup pine nuts, when the onion and nuts are a deep golden color a little ground cumin, ground coriander, pure chili powder and a pinch of ground cayenne is stirred into the mix just in until fragrant. (I used chipotle chili for it's slightly smoky flavor).  While that mixture is allowed to cool you can combine the base of the dip/spread.

 Rather than sour cream or cream cheese, the base is nonfat, thick Greek-style yogurt (no guilt there!) I used Fage brand with 0 fat ~ I really like it's creamy, thick consistency.  For the spinach ~ you can use frozen, thawed chopped spinach but I just gently steamed 10-ounces of fresh baby spinach, squeezed out as much liquid as possible then finely chopped it up. I like the texture of the freshly steamed much better than the frozen spinach in this particular recipe.

To finish the recipe just combine the cooled onion-spice mixture with the yogurt-spinach mixture, stir until thoroughly mixed together, add salt to taste and stir again. I also stirred in a couple of drops of lemon juice, and garnished with additional pine nuts. You can make this up to 24 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated. You can stir in a little milk if you would like a thinner dip.

Serve with thin slices of toasted baguette, tortilla chips, toasted pita crisps, crudites.

This also makes a nice condiment for grilled chicken, fish, or beef. If you try it I hope you like it as much as I do!

Click here for a printable copy of the recipe.

Thanks for stopping by friends!


Italian-style Sausage Soup with Kale (or Escarole, Swiss Chard, or Spinach)

It's sure not much to look at, but I had to share this recipe, it's one of the best rustic-style soups I've tasted ~ it's really chunky and full of flavor and substantial enough to serve as a meal.

If you do an internet search you'll find various variations of Italian Sausage soups; this one is often described as being very similar to The Olive Garden's "Toscana" soup ~ I'm not sure about that as I've never tried OG's Toscana soup, but if you have maybe you can let me know if it is similar or not.

It's difficult to believe a homemade soup with such amazing flavor can be made in about a half hour. I tweaked the recipe just a little from the original, and if you'd like a printable copy I've posted it over on the OUaP recipe site along with the few changes I made.

If you try it I hope you like it as much as I do.

Have a wonderful day, friends!  ~m.

A Sampling of my food . . .


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