Category Archives: Side Dishes

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

Chocolate Mint Bars

So here we are. . .dessert time again.  I needed something to bring in to work yesterday and wanted to use ingredients I had on hand.  Needless to say, chocolate and mint is another favorite pair of mine.  So decadent and good – you’d never know these were low-cal!

Bottom layer:

1 c flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 c granulated sugar

1/2 c egg substitute

1/4 c butter, melted

2 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 (16 oz) can chocolate syrup (about 1 1/3 c)

Mint layer:

2 c powdered sugar

1/4 c butter, melted

2 tbsp fat free milk

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

2 drops green food coloring


3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips

3 tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 35o.

2. Combine flour and salt; stir with a whisk.  Combine granulated sugar and next 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until smooth.  Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring until blended.  Pour batter into a prepped 13 x 9 baking pan.  Bake for 28 mins.  Cool completely in a pan with a wire rack.

3. Combine powdered sugar and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth.  Spread mint mixture over cooled cake.

wow. . .this was super green. . .like Shrek.

4. Combine chocolate chips and 3 tbsp butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Let stand 2 minutes.  Spread chocolate mixture evenly over mint layer.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Cut into 20 pieces.

The bottom layer was a bit moister than I expected but still very good.  I wonder if it may needed to have been in the oven a few minutes longer.  Other than that I had NO complaints whatsoever – delicious!

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 264

Fat: 8.7 g

Protein: 2.8 g

Carbohydrate: 45 g

Fiber: 0.5 g

Cholesterol: 38 mg

Sodium: 139 mg

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

Southwest Steak (Dinner)

I love Mexican food.  When I was pregnant I literally ate tacos almost everyday for the first 3 months.  Funny that I never really branched out from that until much later.  I wanted to grill steak but not necessarily do a carne asada (although that is muy delicioso) so I found the following recipe and am sure glad I did!  I also wanted to make a side of rice and salad to go with this so keep reading!

Southwest steak:

1/4 c lime juice

1/4 c bottled steak sauce

1/4 c salsa (whichever level of spiciness you prefer)

1 tbsp canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1 lb boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 in thick

1. For marinade, in a small saucepan combine all seasoning ingredients and bring to boiling.  Reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered for 5 mins, stirring occasionally; cool.

2. Place steak in a resealable plastic bag and set in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over steak and place in fridge 8-24 hrs.  (Mine sat for about 19-20 hrs) Turn bag occasionally.

3. When ready place meat on grill and cook to desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling.

4. Thinly slice, as Rick Bayless says (sorry just saw a recent tweet), ALWAYS against the grain!

Your Red Rice side:

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 sm onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 c long grain white rice

1 tsp achiote powder (this you can find in a Mexican store, I found a Mexican seasoning at a local farmers market which was wonderful!  Just make sure what you end up using isn’t just a plain chile powder or something like that)

1 bay leaf

2 c canned crushed tomatoes (***I used ones with sweet onion in them***)

2.5 c low sodium chicken broth

1. Heat oil in med saucepan over med-high heat and add onions and garlic until soft, about 2 minutes.

2.  Add rice, seasoning powder, and bay leaf and cook until rice is opaque, about 2 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to boiling.  Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until liquid evaporates and is just below level of the rice.  Simmer, covered, on low for about 20-25 mins. Yields 4-6 servings.

Tomato with Avocado Salsa:

1/2 lg avocado, diced

2 tsp fresh lime juice

1/8 tsp salt

1 medium Anaheim or poblano pepper, seeded and ribs removed, finely chopped

2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro

1 lg tomato, cut into 5 slices

1.25 tsp fresh lime juice

In a medium bowl, stir together the avocado, 2 tsp lime juice, salt, pepper and cilantro.  Be sure the avocado is coated with the lime juice to prevent discoloration.

For each serving, place avocado mixture over tomato slice(s).  Sprinkle with additional lime juice.

And here you have it!

Oh yeah. . .don’t forget your warmed up tortilla (I used whole wheat) and additional leafy greens!  The meat came out so incredibly tender – it was perfect.  The avocado/tomato had just the right amount of tang and the rice had really good flavor (I believe the crushed tomato with sweet onion did the trick).  All in all – this was a very delicious and satisfying meal for that Mexican craving.

Nutritional Information:

Southwest Steak:

Calories: 200

Total Fat: 9 g

Cholesterol: 69 mg

Protein: 25 mg

Carbohydrate: 5 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 385 mg

Tomato with Avocado Salsa:

Calories: 49

Total Fat: 3. 5 g

Cholesterol: 0

Sodium: 67 mg

Carbohydrate: 5 g

Fiber: 2 g

Protein: 1 g

Sorry, I do not have the information for the red rice side as this was not made available.

Ham, Spinach, and Gruyere Bread Pudding with Kale and Potato Hash

It was time to do brunch again and I really wanted to do something different.  ZenChef inspired me as he has used Gruyere in tarts before.  If you like to branch out in your cheeses Gruyere is also wonderful as a dessert cheese and melts well for sauces and fondues (just a side note if you didn’t know this already!).  So here you are. . .

For the Bread Pudding:

4 large egg whites

4 large eggs

1 c skim milk

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp fresh minced rosemary

4 c whole grain bread (I left the crusts on) cut up in 1 in cubes

5 c chopped spinach wilted

1/2 c chopped jarred roasted red peppers

1 c diced ham steak (5 oz)

3/4 c shredded Gruyere

1. Preheat oven to 375 and prep your 2-2.5 qt baking dish.  Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk and then add your seasonings; whisk.

2. Toss your bread, spinach, peppers, and ham in a large bowl.  Add your egg mixture and toss well to coat. Transfer to baking dish and press down to compact.  Cover with foil.

3. Bake for 40-45 mins; uncover and top with cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes more.  Cool on wire rack.  Makes 8 servings.

For Kale and Potato Hash:

8 c torn kale

2 tbsp horseradish

1 med shallot, minced

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

2 c cooked shredded potato

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Place kale in large microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Wilt – about 3 mins.  Drain and finely chop.

2. Mix the rest of the seasoning ingredients and add potato and kale.

3. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.  Evenly layer your hash and cook until potato is crisp and golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. (The ingredients above yield 4 servings so I doubled the recipe.)

Sunday brunch!

To offset the two dishes we whipped up some buttery pancakes and made homemade whipped cream topped with strawberries (sigh).  This was delicious!

Nutritional Information:

Bread Pudding:

Calories: 276

Carbohydrates: 25 g

Protein: 21 g

Fat: 10 g

Cholesterol: 169 mg

Fiber: 3 g

Sodium: 746 mg

For Kale and Potato Hash:

Calories: 240

Carbohydrates: 30 g

Protein: 6 g

Fat: 12 g

Cholesterol: 0

Fiber: 5 g

Sodium: 244 mg

Chipotle Chili and Southwestern Drop Biscuits

After a pretty gluttonous weekend I have returned to doing my low-cal thing.  I’m not a die-hard fan of chili but I thought I’d give this recipe a try.  I’m glad I did because it definitely hit the spot for cold weather comfort food!  I wanted to pair it with something and biscuits sounded appealing.  The chili was great as it was hearty enough with the beans and other veggies in it without being “heavy”.

For the Chili:

8 0z extra lean ground beef or turkey (or even ground chicken)

1 c chopped onion

1.5 tsp ground cumin

2-14 oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained, cut up

1-15 oz can red beans, drained and rinsed

1.5 c coarsely chopped red and or yellow sweet pepper

1/2 c water

2-3 tsp chopped canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce (I love spicy so I used 3)

1 tbsp snipped fresh oregano

1/4 c shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

1. Lightly coat an unheated large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray.  Preheat over medium heat and cook your meat and onion.  Stir in cumin and cook for about a minute more.  Add tomatoes, red beans, pepper, water, and chile peppers.  Bring to boiling, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 5 mins and then stir in oregano.

2. Serve with cheese and a dollop of sour cream (this offsets the spiciness very well)!  Makes 4-1.5 c servings.

For biscuits:

1 c all purpose flour

3/4 c whole wheat flour

2 tsps baking powder

1-2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1-8 0z carton light sour cream

1/3 c fat free milk

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a baking sheet.  Stir together first 5 ingredients.

2. Whisk together sour cream and milk and then mix with flour mixture.  Drop 1/3 c sized dough mounds on sheet and bake for 14-16 mins.  Makes 8 servings.

The biscuits were okay.  They definitely needed to be buttered (of course I go low fat and use the zero calorie ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ spray).  I’m not sure what I would have done differently for these – maybe added some reduced fat cheese?  Alternately, you can serve the chili with lime wedges and baked tortilla chips which would work just as well. But the chili was very good!

Nutritional Information:


Calories: 398

Total Fat: 14 g

Cholesterol: 57 mg

Protein: 27 g

Carbohydrate: 40 g

Fiber: 10 g

Sodium: 1030 mg

For biscuits:

Calories: 138

Total Fat: 3  g

Cholesterol: 10 mg

Protein: 4 g

Carbohydrate: 23 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 191 mg

Bob's Crash Hot Potatoes

So after a bit of  a hiatus (s0rry about that), it is time to post again.  Hope you are all having a good week :)  I think I will start off with a side dish this time (but it doesn’t have to be by any means).  Here’s something simple for those of you in eskimo-esque climates.  Bob inspired me as I was wanting good ‘ole steak and potatoes – so you can thank him later.  However, this was simply wonderful! Our guests the past two weekends have been raving about this still!

You’ll need:

desired amount of red potatoes (apparently these taste best)

garlic (Bob used this for his blog pictures but I went with straight bacon-cheese potatoes)



shredded cheese (I used sharp)

sour cream

1.  Boil your potatoes until tender.

2. Wrap your baking pan with foil.  Place your potatoes and smash them until open.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with desired ingredients.  I knew bacon was going to be a big hit so I topped each potato with a pat of butter, uncured bacon and shredded cheese.

3. Bake at 450 for 25 minutes.  You can smell the magic by then.  Serve with a side of sour cream – absolutely fantastic.

oh yeah. . .

The first weekend I made these along with Van’s baked macaroni and cheese and steak.  That was a great night ;-)  Thank you both for your dinner ideas – they made me look good!

Salmon Cakes with Lemon and Capers/Fettuccine in Tomato Broth

Implementing healthy, low-cal recipes has taken on much more significance for me recently so I am very happy to share those with you that actually taste good and are easy to put together.  These two were a suggested pair and so with the success of the tuna cakes I decided to try these yesterday afternoon.  Big smiles all around for these!

Salmon cakes:

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained

1 tsp black or green peppercorns

1 med garlic cloe, coarsely chopped or 1/2 tsp bottled, chopped or minced

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

whites of 2 lg eggs

1/4 cup fat free, cholesterol-free or light, reduced-calorie mayonnaise dressing

1/4 cup cornmeal

12 oz salmon fillet, skin removed

1. With a mortar and pestle crush and grind together first 5 ingredients.  Transfer to medium bowl.  Add lemon juice and using your mortar make a paste.

2. Stir in egg whites, mayonnaise, and cornmeal.

3. Rinse your fish, pat dry and cut into 1/4 in thick pieces.  They don’t have to be uniform so  don’t feel you have to be really precise.  Stir this into your mixture.

4. Preheat large skillet over medium heat and spray with vegetable oil spray.  Form 4 patties about 3/4 in thick.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning only once.  Enjoy!

For Fettuccine:

14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 c fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

2 pepperoncini (Tuscan peppers), stemmed, seeded, and minced

2 med garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp bottled minced

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8-9 oz fresh fettuccine

6-8 oz sliced or coarsed chopped fresh mushrooms

2 large zucchini, grated

3 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried, crumbled

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp shredded/grated Parmesan or Romano

1. Heat large, deep skillet over high heat.  Put in first 7 ingredients and stir.  Bring to a simmer.  Gently stir in pasta, mushrooms and zucchini.  Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook for 2 minutes or until tender.  Stir in basil.  When read to serve sprinkle with cheese if desired.

You may be wondering. . . zucchini?  I was very, very surprised at how creamy the fettuccine came out because of this vegetable.  No heavy creams, butter, or loads of cheese (which we all love) but this had an alfredo consistency with a different flavor.  It was excellent :)

Nutritional Information:


Calories: 160

Total Fat: 3 g

Cholesterol: 44 mg

Sodium: 245 mg

Carbohydrate: 11 g

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 20 g


Calories: 217

Total Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 1 mg

Sodium: 430 mg

Carbohydrate: 43 g

Fiber: 4 g

Protein: 10 g

Asian Pork Soup

I was going to save this till later in the week but since I was feeling a bit under the weather and needed some comfort food I had a feeling this soup would do the trick.  This was excellent and very simple.

You’ll need:

1 tbsp canola oil
12 oz lean boneless pork, cut into thin bite size strips
2 c freshly sliced shiitake mushroooms
2 c garlic, minced
3-14 oz cans chicken broth
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger/1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 c shredded napa cabbage
1 green onion, thinly sliced
fresh cilantro sprigs

1. In lg saucepan heat oil over med heat; add pork, cook and stir for 2-3 mins or until slightly pink in the center. Remove from pan and set aside. add mushrooms and garlic and cook until tender.

2. Stir in chicken broth, sherry soy, ginger, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Stir in pork, napa cabbage, and green onion; heat through. If desired, garnish with cilantro. Makes 6-1 c servings.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 160

Total Fat: 6 g

Cholesterol: 31 mg

Protein: 16 g

Carbohydrate: 10 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 169 mg

Tuna Cakes with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

So here’s a recipe I am SO glad to have found!  This was spectacular!

For cucumber yogurt sauce:

1/2 c peeled, seeded, and finely chopped cucumber

1/2 c plain non-fat yogurt

2 tbsp snipped fresh dillweed or 2 tsps dried and crushed

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper

Stir above ingredients together – cover and refrigerate.

For tuna cakes:

2- 6 oz cans albacore tuna in distilled/spring water, drained and flaked

2 large eggs or you can subsitute

1/3 c crushed fat free no salt added whole wheat crackers ( or you choose)

1/4 c chopped green onion (green and white parts)

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp prepared horseradish

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all tuna ingredients and shape into 6 cakes about 2.5 in in diameter.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and prep with vegetable oil.  Cook cakes for 6-8 mins or until golden brown, turning once.  Serve with sauce and sides of choice – Enjoy!

Frying up the tuna cakes. . .

Voila! (And as always I have to have my salad)

***The side is a corn pudding which was actually a great accompaniment.  Here’s the how-to on that one:  Combine 2 c whole kernel corn, 1 1/4 c low fat buttermilk, 2 lg eggs (or substitutes), 1 tbsp melted margarine, 1 tsp salt and white pepper each.  Prep a 6.5 in baking pan and bake for 45 – 50 mins (closer to 50) at 350.

Nutritional Information:

Tuna Cakes (per cake):

Calories: 133

Total fat: 4 g

Cholesterol: 24 mg

Sodium: 416 mg

Carbohydrate: 6 g

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 17 g

Corn Pudding:

Calories: 133

Total Fat: 2.5 g

Cholesterol: 3 mg

Sodium: 313 mg

Carbohydrate: 22 mg

Fiber: 2 g

Protein: 8 g