Category Archives: Main Course

Lasagna Rolls

There’s always room for pasta.  We all love it. Even low-carbers hate the fact they dream about it.  So here’s another way to satiate that desire.  This was a nice change of pace from the traditional layered dish but was just as filling.


8 uncooked lasagna noodles

4 tsp olive oil

1/2 c finely chopped onion

1-8 0z pkge sliced mushrooms

1-6 oz pkge baby spinach

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 c part skim ricotta cheese

1/4 c minced fresh basil, divided

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper


1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (7 oz) bottle roasted red bell peppers, undrained

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

1. For lasagna, cook noodles according to package direction, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat.  Add onion, mushroom, spinach and garlic – saute for 5 mins or until veggies are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, 2 tbsp basil, salt and red pepper.

3. For sauce, place your sauce ingredients into a blender and  process until smooth.

4. Place cooked noodles on flat surface; spread 1/3 c cheese mixture over each noodle.  Roll up noodles, jelly-roll fashion, starting with short side.  Place rolls, seam-side down, in a shallow 2 qt microwave safe dish.  Pour 1/4 c sauce over each roll and cover with heavy duty plastic wrap.  Microwave at HIGH 5 mins and sprinkle with remaining basil.  Makes 4 servings of 2 rolls each.

As you can see the sauce, at first, was more watery than I anticipated but I had to let it sit for a bit.  The sauce was fine after a few more minutes.  The rolls were also a bit ‘flatter’ than I expected.  Other than that the taste was great!  I’m sure you can substitute some of the veggies for a meat if you wanted more substance to them.  I served this was a side of sauteed asparagus – yum!   If only I had gelato. . . .

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 393

Fat: 11.7 g

Protein: 19.3 g

Carbohydrate: 58.3 g

Fiber: 5.9 g

Cholesterol: 20 mg

Sodium: 924 mg

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia Sandwiches with Lime Butter

Okay. . .now we’re talkin’.  This was fabulous!  I love fish to begin with but I always feel guilty after eating fish that is super-fried (albeit delicious) and greasy.  The ‘batter’ here had lots of flavor – top it off with the lime butter – MWAH!

3 tbsp yellow cornmeal

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/8 tsp ground pepper (I used a bit more than this)

4 (6-oz) tilapia fillets

2 tbsp butter, softened

1 tsp grated lime rind

1/2 tsp fresh lime juice

4 (1.5 oz) french bread rolls, toasted

tomato slices

shredded red leaf lettuce

1. preheat broiler

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish (breading trays are ideal).  Coat both sides of fish with cooking spray.  Dredge fish in cornmeal mixture.

3. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.  Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

4. Combine butter, rind, and juice in a small bowl; stir well.

5. Assemble your sandwich – serve with side of choice – I decided on classic coleslaw :)  Makes 4 servings.


Nutritional Information:

Calories: 345

Fat: 9.9 g

Protein: 39.2 g

Carbohydrate: 26.3 mg

Fiber: 2 g

Cholesterol: 100 mg

Sodium: 708 mg

Falafel Pitas

I was ‘iffy’ about trying these but it seemed easy enough.  At least it was labeled ‘quick and easy’ by the creator of this recipe (more comments about this later).  And for some reason I couldn’t recall trying falafel in the past and loving it.  So why I chose to do this. . .no clue.   The recipe calls for using your food processor which I rarely use so maybe this added to the already existing ‘unfamiliar’ feeling.  Well, here goes:

1/4 c plain dry breadcrumbs

1/4 c fresh flat leaf parsely leaves

2 tbsp chopped green onion

1 tbsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp salt

1 (15 oz)  can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)

1 lg egg

1 chopped garlic clove

pinch of ground red pepper

1/4 cup shredded seeded peeled cucumber

1/3 c plain 2% fat free Greek yogurt (I love Fage)

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

2-6in pitas, whole wheat, cut in half

4 Bibb or mixed lettuce leaves

tomato slices

1. Combine first 10 ingredients in your food processor and process until finely chopped.  Divide mixture into 4 equal portions and shape each into a 1/2 thick patty.  Heat your skillet over med-high heat.  Coat with spray and cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned (I’d say almost 5 mins).

2. Combine cucumber and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Assemble your pita and top each patty with a bout 1 tbsp cucumber mixture. Makes 4 servings.

. . .served with couscous :9

It turned out very well but I think the prep was more time-consuming than I expected (or maybe it was the mood I was in that day, who knows).  I don’t think I would have changed anything but I’m not sure I would make it again. (Sigh)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 220

Fat: 4.4 g

Protein: 10.4 g

Carbohydrate: 37.2 g

Fiber: 6.7 g

Cholesterol: 54 mg

Sodium: 617 mg

Chicken Basil Calzones

So here we are on “I-need-a-shortcut” night.  This was perfect for a quick dinner or for something on-the-go.  Using ground chicken breast is also a leaner alternative to beef but feel free to use ground sirloin if you so desire! The biggest shortcuts here are that you are using prepared pizza sauce and dough.  If you haven’t noticed already I am usually picky about what I eat (as in low calorie = usually means fresh ingredients) and so these already prepped products came from a store that uses only fresh ingredients.  So, naturally, I would encourage the same.

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb ground chicken

3/4 c prepared pizza sauce

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 c chopped fresh basil

1 (13.8 oz) can refrigerated pizza crust dough

1/2 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat and prep with spray.  Add garlic and chicken to pan; saute for 5 mins or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring to crumble.  Stir in pizza sauce and pepper.  Reduce heat, and simmer 5 mins, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; stir in basil.  Let stand about 10 mins to thicken.

3. Unroll your dough onto a baking sheet coated with spray. Cut dough into quarters.  Pat each portion into an 8 x 6 rectangle.  Divide chicken mixture evenly among rectangles (place in center); top each serving 2 tbsp cheese.  Working with one rectangle at a time, fold dough in half over filling (don’t worry about stretching it), pinching edges to seal.

4. Bake at 425 for 12 mins or until golden. Makes 4 servings.

These were delicious and filling! I would probably add more red pepper since I needed a bit more kick.  And obviously the variations are endless here.  Have fun!

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 459

Fat: 7.1 g

Protein: 39.1 g

Carbohydrate: 56.4 g

Fiber: 3 g

Cholesterol: 74 mg

Sodium: 919 mg

Pork with Lemon Caper Sauce

Here is one delicious quick and easy recipe that is a sure-fire crowd pleaser – especially if you love pork chops.  This has a light but flavorful breading – crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.  You cannot go wrong with this :)

1/3 c flour

1/8 tsp salt

3 tbsp Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

3 tbsp preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

4 – 4 oz boneless center cut pork chops (about 1/2 thick)

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 c fat free less sodium chicken broth

1 tbsp dry white wine

1/4 tsp grated lemon rind

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained

1. Combine flour and salt in a shallow dish.  Place breadcrumbs, cheese, and pepper in a shallow dish; place egg white in another shallow dish.  Dredge pork in flour mixture, dip in egg white, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Coat pork with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove from pan; keep warm.  Add broth and remaining ingredients to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Cook 2 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 2 mins).  Serve with pork.  Yields 4 servings.

I know the pork appears a little burnt but it certainly didn’t taste that way.  The recipe didn’t have a picture so I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to look but the taste was amazing!  I served it with orzo (splashed with some fresh lemon juice, salt, and parsley) and garlic-red pepper broccoli.  I had my son help me make this dinner so I *think* that’s why he enjoyed every bite of it – even the broccoli :)

Nutritional Information (pork only):

Calories: 256

Fat: 10.1 g

Protein: 28.2 g

Carbohydrate: 11.5 g

Fiber: 0.7 g

Cholesterol: 68 mg

Sodium: 419 mg

Chicken and Wild Mushroom Hash Cakes with Garlic and Red Pepper Broccoli

With all the previous potato talk – here’s another way to enjoy our favorite starch!  I came across this recipe and knew I had to try this.  Just think. . .you can take your poultry or mashed potato leftovers and turn them into some fried goodness :)  I think I’m salivating again. . .

Hash Cakes:

2 c chopped shiitake mushroom caps

1 garlic clove, minced

2 c chopped cooked chicken/turkey

2 c mashed cooked baking potatoes

3/4 c panko bread crumbs

1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese

1/3 c thinly sliced green onions

1.5 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black peppper

1 tbsp canola oil

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add mushrooms and garlic to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Combine mushroom mixture, chicken, potatoes, 1/4 c panko, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2 in thick patty.  Refrigerate 10 minutes.  Dredge patties in remaining 1/2 c panko.

2. Heat 1.5 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the patties and cook  2 minutes on each side – you might need to do this in batches.  Yields 4 servings (2 patties each).

***I served this with a side of broccoli (2 cloves minced garlic and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper – sauteed with broccoli — you can also use broccolini – and simmered with 1/2 c water, covered, for about 6-7  minutes) and cranberry sauce.

This was so delicious!  That’s all I have to say about this.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 263

Fat: 10 g

Protein: 25.1 g

Carbohydrate: 18.2 g

Fiber: 2.2 g

Cholesterol: 68 g

Sodium: 556 mg

Bullseye Onion Burger

This looked intriguing and since I had been turned on to the use of kale in various recipes I decided to give this a shot.  I love onion – it doesn’t matter what kind – because I think it does so much for flavor and so the sweet onion here turned out to be a great flavor combination with the kale and swiss cheese.

What you’ll need:

1 large sweet onion

1 lb very lean ground beef (the leaner the better)

1. 5 tsp garlic powder

4 slices low fat swiss cheese

8 red or green kale leaves, stems removed

2 tsp olive oil

4 – texas toast, toasted

1.  Peel and cut onion into 4 – 1/4 in thick slices.  Shape meat loosely into 4 1/2 thick patties; sprinkle with garlic powder, 1/3 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Press one onion slice into the center of each patty and shape meat around onion until top of onion is flush with the surface of the meat patty (this was really tricky for me).

2. Place meat, onion side up on the rack of an uncovered grill and cook to desired doneness, turning once halfway through.  Brush kale leaves lightly with oil and add to grill the last minute or so of grilling.

3. To serve, place two kale leaves and slice of cheese atop each bread slice.  Top with a burger, onion side up and serve with choice of side (I did sweet potato fries).  Makes 4 servings.

1. I could have melted the cheese on the kale in the oven for a minute or two.

2. The onion didn’t completely grill the way I would have liked.

But overall, the taste was a success.  Just keep in mind that this is definitely a fork and knife type burger :)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 321

Total fat: 10 g

Cholesterol: 78 mg

Sodium: 387 mg

Carbohydrate: 22 g

Fiber: 2 g

Protein: 34 g

Three Cheese Baked Penne

I needed something quick and easy before I started work and so I came across this recipe.  Sometimes pastas can come out a bit bland or the sauce too “tomato-ey” or overpowering.  Between the sweet Italian sausage, the three cheeses, and the additional herbs – even my young  son (who has turned out to be my worst critic, go figure) can’t get enough!

Your supplies:

2.5 c uncooked whole wheat penne

2 (4 oz) links sweet turkey Italian sausage

1 c finely chopped green bell pepper

1.5 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/8 tsp black pepper

dash of salt

10 grape/cherry tomatoes, halved

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (8-0z) can garlic and herb tomato sauce

3/4 c shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 c crumbled goat cheese

1/4 c grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and keep warm.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with spray.  Remove casings from sausage.  Add sausage and cook 2 minutes, stirring to crumble.  Add bell pepper and next 6 ingredients; saute for 6 minutes or until pepper is tender.  Stir in tomato sauce.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Add pasta to pan, tossing to coat.

4. Spoon mixture into a prepped 8 in square baking dish.  Stir in mozzarella and goat cheeses; sprinkle with Parmesan.  Bake for 7 minutes or until bubbly and top is browned. Makes 6 (1. 25 c) servings.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 326

Fat: 10.9 g

Protein: 20.8 g

Carbohydrate: 38.9 g

Fiber: 4.9 g

Cholesterol: 47 mg

Sodium: 641 mg

Turkey Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

Meatballs – one of my all time fave comfort foods.  But, of course, I found a low-cal version which is very, very good!  Seasoned just right and with a mushroom gravy – definitely hit the spot for the day.  I hope you enjoy as well.

You’ll need:

1 lb lean ground turkey

1/2 c chopped onion

1/4 c plain bread crumbs

1/4 c fresh parsley, snipped

1/2 tsp dried basil, crumbled

1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

8 oz fresh mushroooms sliced

1/2 tbsp dried thyme, crumbled

1 c fat free, no salt added beef broth

2 tsp cornstarch

1. In a large bowl, stir together the turkey, onion, bread crumbs, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Shape into 16 meatballs.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray.  Cool the meatbals for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides, turning frequently.  Transfer to a plate.

3. In the same skillet cook the mushrooms and thyme for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Return meatballs to skillet and pour on 3/4 c broth.  Reduce the heat to medium; cook, covered, for 6-8 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through.

5. Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and add the remaining broth and whisk.  Add to skillet and stir well.  Simmer for 1 minute until sauce thickens for a gravy consistency.  Yields  4 (4 meatball) servings.  Serve over your choice of side – Enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 188

Total Fat: 1.5 g

Cholesterol: 77 mg

Sodium: 423 mg

Carbohydrate: 11 g

Fiber: 2 g

Protein: 31 g

Nantucket Bay Scallops and Eastham Turnip-Potato Gratin

I really wanted seafood last night and I am so glad I came across these two recipes because I was NOT disappointed. I also had leftover Gruyere cheese and was longing to use it.  The sweetness of the bay scallops with the cheesy tenderness of the gratin was quite satisfying!  I had never had turnips before (or at least that I can remember) and now I’m turned on to the possibilities of actually incorporating turnips into a semi-regular ingredient for my meals.  Who knew!

For zee scallops:

2 tbsp butter

2 bay leaves

1.5 lbs bay scallops (remember these are sweeter that the bigger sea scallops)

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 tsp grated lemon rind

chopped fresh chives

1. Place butter and bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook until butter melts.  Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Skim solids off the top and discard along with bay leaves.

2. Lightly coat scallops with cooking spray.  Heat a large, heavy skillet (I used my cast iron) over high heat.  Cook the scallops in 2 batches for about 1 minute each.  Place in a bowl.  Sprinkle scallops with salt.  Add juice and 1/2 the butter to scallops; toss to coat.

3. Combine panko and remaining butter.  Heat pan over medium-low heat.  Add panko mixture to pan and cook 2 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from pan.

4. Place 1/3 c scallops into a ramekin.  Sprinkle with panko, lemon rind, and chives.  Makes 8 servings.

These smell as delicious as they taste!

Your turnip-potato gratin:

1.25 lbs turnips, peeled, and cut into 1/8 in thick slices (I used a mandoline slicer)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

3/4 lb baking potato, peeled, and cut into 1/8 thick slices

3/4 c Gruyere grated, divided

3/4 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1. Place turnips in a medium saucepan; cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove, drain, and pat dry.

2. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Arrange 1/3 turnips in a 2 qt prepped baking dish; sprinkle with 1/3 salt and pepper each.  Arrange half of potato over turnip.  Sprinkle 6 tbsp cheese evenly over the potato.  Arrnage 1/3 turnips and sprinkle again with 1/3 salt and pepper each.  Arrange remaining potato and then turnips last.  Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper and pour broth over the whole dish.  Cover with foil, pressing foil onto turnip slices.  Bake for 1 hr.

4. Preheat broiler.

5. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Broil for about 8 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

Let me tell, ya – this meal was fabulous!  At first I was nervous when I dug into the gratin because the bottom was watery.  But it just needed time to sit and soak it all in.  I never really wait till my food cools down to try it so the first bite was excellent.  And don’t worry it is cheesy enough.  I was wondering how 3/4 c cheese would make this an actual “gratin” but the flavor was definitely there.  I know I encourage to make the dishes I post but if you enjoy scallops DO THIS ONE!

Nutritional Information:

Nantucket Bay Scallops:

Calories: 107

Fat: 3.6 g

Protein: 14.6 g

Carbohydrate: 3.4 g

Fiber: 0.1 g

Cholesterol: 36 mg

Sodium: 280 mg

Eastham Turnip-Potato Gratin:

Calories: 96

Fat: 3.4 g

Protein: 4.7 g

Carbohydrate: 12.4 g

Fiber: 1.9 g

Cholesterol: 11 mg

Sodium: 243 mg