Low Fat Diva Blog

Low Fat Lifestyle Recipes & Lowfat Cooking Tips

Using Your Noodles In 2012 December 29, 2011

I started writing this article for January at least a dozen times because I just couldn’t decide where I wanted to go with it.  Did I focus on “weight loss” like so many other people?  Should I use some catch phrase like A New Year A New You, Shape Up In 2012, Keep Those New Years Weight Loss Resolutions or Quick, Easy Weight Loss Ideas for 2012?  Let’s face it, weight loss is not easy for most of us and there is no magic pill or drink that will make the pounds just fall off let alone stay off.  The weight came on over time and it will take us some time to lose it.  I don’t’ need to “preach to the choir”, to use another catch phrase, most of us know we need to change our eating styles and we know “a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest”.

So, now you’re asking, which way did I decide to go with this article for the New Year (is the title confusing)?  I decided to focus on what I do daily, coming up with some great recipes for you that are low in fat but still high in flavor!  Many of us are cutting back not just on fat but also with our budgets and we need more recipes for meals that are filling, comforting, and cost less to feed our families. Something that comes to mind is PASTA/NOODLES!  Not only is pasta inexpensive but it’s filling and there are a bazillion recipes to make pasta dishes.  You can bake it, cover it with sauce and add meat to it, sauté vegetables with it. There is pasta that is long, thin, thick, curly, tubular, wide, or for something really unique you can use gnocchi or pierogi (Plumb’s Market carries whole wheat pastas as well as Gluten Free varieties).  Let’s face it, there is more to pasta than spaghetti and meatballs and I’m here to share some delectable recipes this month!  A brand of pasta that I use a great deal is DeLallo (available at Plumb’s).  They have every type of pasta you can imagine and their Orzo is wonderful!  If you are not really into making sauce for pasta, DeLallo also has prepared sauces but you need to watch the fat content because many of their sauces are made with olive oil and although olive oil is good for us (high in antioxidants), that only applies with limited quantities.

The recipes that I have for you is Bolognaise, hard to pronounce but oh so delish (I keep extra in my freezer to make my lasagna with) and Rosemary Chicken with Orecchiette – your family and friends will love them!  For more recipes all month long be sure to log onto this site or for comments/questions email me 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

The recipes for Bolognaise , Rosemary Chicken with Orecchiette  and more all month long can be found by clicking onto the “Main Dish” tab.  Enjoy!

Rosemary Chicken with Orecchiette

2 large chicken breast cut into thin strips

Dash sea salt

Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons ground Rosemary

1 # dried Orecchiette pasta

¼ cup Parmesan-Reggiano shredded

¼ cup fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley chopped finely

Rub chicken breast with salt, pepper and Rosemary.  Cut into slices.  Let rest while you prepare a pot of water to boil the pasta.  Cook Orecchiette in boiling water until al dente.  While pasta cooks, spray large saucepan with Pam.  Sauté chicken strips until no longer pink. Turn heat down to medium.

When pasta is ready, drain but reserve 2 cups of pasta water.  Add pasta to pan with chicken slices, carefully mixing pasta with chicken.  Add parsley to mixture and pour ½ of pasta water to pan.  Add shredded cheese and stir until sauce thickens.  Add more water if needed.  This dish is filing, taste fantastic, easy and quite inexpensive to make.

 SIDE NOTE: I leaned the real importance of using the pasta water when making sauces.  It not only is a wonderful thickener but also adds a great deal of body to your sauces (and to think I used to dump the water down the drain)!

Bolognese Sauce

Make a large batch of this sauce to keep in the freezer!  You can use it for lasagna or with wide egg noodles.

3 celery stalks trimmed and finely chopped

2 onions finely chopped

2 medium carrots finely chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

¼ # Pancetta finely chopped

1 # ground turkey breast

1# ground chicken breast

1 -6oz can of tomato paste

1 ½ cups No Fat Half & Half

½ cup dry white wine (can use chicken broth)

In a large pot sprayed with Pam, add all the vegetables and sauté them for about 8 minutes. Add Pancetta and ground meat.  Cook over medium heat, breaking up meat until no longer pink.  Stir in tomato paste, No Fat ½ & ½ and wine.  Stir gently and allow sauce to simmer, cover for about 1 – 1½ hours.  Sauce will thicken during this time.   Can be served with wide egg noodles or used as sauce for lasagna.  Delicious!!

SIDE NOTE:  This sauce is so fantastically good that I can eat it right out of the pan with nothing but a nice rustic piece of bread!  Make an extra batch and keep in your freezer for your “go to sauce”.  I made lasagna with it and will never use my old recipe again – yup it’s that good!!!

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Chocolate Raspberry Cups December 16, 2011

Filed under: Desserts — lowfatdiva @ 12:04 pm
Tags: , ,

When I first read this recipe, my noise wrinkled up (you know like when your mom used to make you try something that you figured taste bad) and I couldn’t imagine putting some of the ingredients together.  I am so glad that I followed through and made them in the Test Kitchen yesterday!  What an interesting treat.  I gave one to my husband after dinner and at first he looked at me and couldn’t figure out what it was or how to eat it 🙂  I decided to put the dessert into paper cups instead of just in the small muffin pan because I had visions of them not coming out of the pan.

I choose to make the flavor raspberry but you could probably use any flavor that went well with dark chocolate.  It’s a dessert that is fun, light and you guessed it pretty low in fat (also helps with those chocolate cravings you might get).  Enjoy!  For comments/questions contact 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

Chocolate Raspberry Cups

1/3 cup boiling water

1  3 oz package raspberry jello

1  5oz  can no fat evaporated milk

2 squares  semi sweet chocolate chopped

In a bowl add boiling water to jello and stir until jello is dissolved.

In a small pan, add the milk and chocolate over low heat.  Stir until chocolate is melted.  Add to jello mixture and whisk until combined

Pour into molds or into mini muffin tins (I lined mine with paper).  Put in frig for about 20 min. to set up.

Just before serving I’m going to put a raspberry on the top.  If you use cherry jello you could place a maraschino cherry on the top before you place them into the frig.

 

 

Chocolately Goodness December 15, 2011

Filed under: Desserts — lowfatdiva @ 4:47 pm

I have yet another great find for you to make with your holiday homemade gifts.  Some of my naughty taste testers ( I will tell you more about them later) told me at first glance they thought the mix was like the “chow” mix they had tasted in the past.  But, once they actually tasted this mix, there was no comparison!  Not only was it filled with chocolate goodness but the mix was not as sweet, did not have the loads of powdered sugar on it and had a couple of different things in the mix they all enjoyed…………I know you are so looking forward to the pictures right?????  So am I but they liked it so much  this picture is to show you  what was left when I turned my back!    Enjoy!  For comments/questions 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

Chocolate Mix

Melt 1/2 stick of Blue Bonnet Lite Margarine along with 1 cup Chocolate Better’n Peanut Butter over low heat.

In a large bowl combine 6 cups of chocolate Chex cereal, 1 cup chocolate fish, 1 cup pretzel buds, 1 cup chocolate cereal(remember low fat)

Pour chocolate mixture over the cereal and gently fold to incorporate all the cereal, pretzels, cereal and fish.  In a very large plastic bag with zip seal, pour 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Scoop all of chocolate coated mix into the plastic bag.  Carefully turn the bag over and over to coat the cereal mixture with the sugar.

Carefully pour the coated cereal mixture onto a baking sheet with sides to cool.  Store in air tight container…………..that is if you have any left to do so 🙂

 

A New Meaning To The Words “Quick Bread” December 13, 2011

Filed under: Bread & Muffins,Low Fat Products — lowfatdiva @ 12:06 pm
Tags: , , ,

Last week I went to one the Plumb’s Market super meat sales (Alpine & 4 Mile) to check things out.  As I was gong through the produce section I noticed an end cap with boxes of bread mix.  One was a Fresh Cranberry(Concord Foods) and the other was Banana Bread mix (Chiquita).  The Banana Bread retailed for about 2.00 and the Cranberry was 3.00.  Each mix will give you 1 large loaf or 3 small loves and you only need to add water along with some Egg Beaters.

The reason I bring this to your attention is because many women have been writing to me about not having time to do a great deal of baking or not being very good at the “homemade” thing .  This box recipe is very easy and the bread taste quite good.  I purchased both to try them out and I have attached a picture of the Cranberry Bread.  If you have less than an hour you can make this inexpensive bread mix, wrap the loaf (s) up in foil, pop them in the freezer and you are on your way to getting things started for your homemade gift giving.    Enjoy!  For comments/questions please write to me 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

 

Potato Chips Anyone???? December 11, 2011

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 6:10 pm

I know that I promised this blog days ago but seriously I have made a bunch of these chips but they either disappear before I get a chance to take a picture or I feel like I need to tweak the recipe a bit.  Well, no more excuses, here is pictures of what you will need and the end result!

While in Manistee doing some work, I went into The Ideal Kitchen store (a must see) and was talking to the owner about low fat cooking.  She told me about a great new kitchen tool from Mastrad where you can make homemade fat free potato chips!  Now, I’m not a big chip girl but know a lot of people who are plus I wanted to share the great news with my readers……………..well after I took it into the “Test Kitchen” and saw if it really worked.

I thought it would be easy to find this treasure once I got back in town…..no such luck (one of those times were you need to purchase something and not wait).  After some time I found a place that carried the chip maker so it was time to get busy and make some chips!  Using a mandoline slicer is important to have because you have to slice your potatoes quite thin (be very careful of blades – I made a foolish mistake and tried to use more of potato and took off guard – not smart!

The types of potatoes you can use are up to you.  I like the red potatoes and the yellow butter type, not as fond of Idaho.  I also bought beets and sweet potatoes to try, a bit tricky but possible.  Beets were probably the most difficult for me to work with.  I love beet chips but normal ones have tons of fat!  I also found seasoning was important to get the right type.  You can’t season until the chip is done (I sprayed with Olive Oil Pam first).  My family loved the chips I made with Cajun seasoning.

I have to say the 20.00 I spent on this new kitchen find was well worth it.  Think about how much a bag of baked chips cost in the store, a bag of potatoes can run 4.00.  You can produce a lot of chips for 4.00.  Plus think of the fun you can have making them for family and friends as holiday gifts.  A wonderful homemade gift for the holiday!    Enjoy!   For comments/questions write 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

 

Holiday Gift Giving!

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 5:13 pm

Back To Basics For This Holiday

 Christmas is a time that should be a joyous occasion but for many people it’s a time of stress, competition and total anxiety.  They are worrying about money, gifts, baking, parties and family, well the list goes on.  Right now people are hurting and having trouble paying their bills which adds even more stress to the holidays.  So, I thought I would share some ideas on how you can get back to basics with some homemade food gifts that will delight anyone on your gift list!  Getting your family involved in the creation of the gifts is a wonderful way to bring the spirit of Christmas back in your life.

People live such busy lives that most really appreciate someone doing the “work” for them when it comes to gifts of food.   Perhaps you have a cookie, bread or dessert that is your specialty and you know some friends who always ask for the recipe.  Why not make some and include the recipe along with it?  Did you try any of the jam recipes I talked about this summer?  If not there is still time to make some.  Just put a variety of jars that you have wrapped ribbon around, set them in a basket, add a loaf of homemade bread and wha-la you have another gift.  Or what about the guys on your list, have any ideas for them???? I do!  How about homemade Canadian Bacon or some Jerky?  Both are pretty easy to make and do not cost a great deal.  Plumb’s Market sells a Jerky Cure & Seasoning Mix in a few different flavors.  Each packet makes about 15 pounds of meat!  Meats like venison, pork, chicken breast or turkey breast are very popular.  You can also purchase a brining mix to make the Canadian Bacon or  use the brine recipe that I have.  Plumb’s Market has some great meat sales where you can purchase a nice large pork loin to make the Canadian Bacon.

I know that you are familiar with the “original Chex Mix” but have you gone onto their website and discovered the huge variety of mixes they have created?  Some of these mixes would make great gifts for stockings (there are sweet ones as well as savory mixes). Flavored popcorn makes a great sweet or savory treat that everyone loves.  I made some air popped corn, sprayed it with butter flavor and sprinkled with Cayenne Pepper. Oh, I bet you are wondering if any of these gifts are low in fat.  Yes, all of them can be.  I have included my version of a lemon chow mix and it was a hit with all my taste testers.  Enjoy!  For questions/comments please contact me at 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com also visit my web site for more gift ideas 1lowfatdiva.wordpress.com

 

  Lemony Chow Mix

4 cups Rice Chex

2 tablespoons Blue Bonnet Lite

4 tablespoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon flavoring

½ -3/4 cup powdered sugar

Measure Rice Chex cereal into large bowl and set aside.  Melt margarine, add lemon juice, flavoring and 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Stir well.  Pour over cereal and mix until cereal is coated.  Put mixture in a microwavable dish and cook on high for 1 minute.  Remove stir and add the rest of the lemon zest and carefully stir.  Using a sifter for the powdered sugar sprinkle over the cereal mixture and gently stir until the cereal is coated.  Place cereal mixture onto a sheet of wax paper to cool.  Place in air tight container for storage.

NOTE:  I like to taste the flavor of the lemon not all the powdered sugar so the mix will not have a great deal of sugar on it.

 

 Canadian Bacon

In a large non-corrosive pan dissolve a brine mix that you have purchased in a gallon of cool water.  Stir to make sure everything has dissolved well.  Set aside.  Trim the fat from a 4 pound piece of pork loin.  Place the meat in the pan that contains the brine.  The meat should be totally covered with the brine mixture.  Cover the pan and place in frig for at least four days.

After four days remove the meat from the brine mixture and rinse the meat under cold water really well.  Set the meat on a shelf in frig unwrapped for 24 hours.  The meat is now ready to be placed in your smoker.  Keep the heat low (175 degrees) for about 6 hours.  Remove from the smoker, let cool and wrap up in foil or plastic wrap.  You will need to heat the meat thoroughly when you slice it to cook it.  Do not overcook or you will dry out the bacon.  Enjoy!

Homemade Brine Recipe – If you want to make brine you can Google it or this is a recipe that I use.

1 gallon water

5 Tablespoons Kosher salt

2 Tablespoons of DQ Cure (you can get in a meat dept)

½ cup sugar

Put 2 quarts of water in a non corrosive pan, add salt, DQ and sugar.  Bring to a slight boil and stir to make sure everything is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add 2 more quarts of cold water stirring constantly.  The mixture must be cool before you add the meat or you will “cook” the meat instead of brining it.  When the mixture is cool, add your meat, cover with a lid and place in frig.  Follow the same directions as above.Popcorn, Mixes, Candian Bacon, Jerky

 

A Coffee Kick December 8, 2011

Filed under: Appetizers & Drinks — lowfatdiva @ 1:50 pm

Here I sit again in the early morning hours with my second cup of coffee thinking about what else but …..coffee!  I’ve been making Kahlua for my friends for years, long before making this type of gift was cool.  I made it because we all liked it, couldn’t afford it and it was a gift that “kept on giving”.

There are a bazillion recipes out there for Kahlua.  Some already have the cream mixed in or they don’t have a really strong coffee flavor.  I don’t  make the recipes with the cream already added because they usually have a very short shelf life, unless you use condensed milk, which most people either don’t know about or refuse because they like the true cream experience.  I like the traditional recipe because the longer you keep it, the more intense and smooth it becomes therefore has no limited shelf life.  Another main reason is the Kahlua with cream mixed in has to compete for shelf space in my refrigerator, gets shoved to the back, forgotten and then a perfectly great bottle of Kahlua has to be dumped!

My recipe does take a bit of time to make but you do not have to slave over a hot stove stirring it the entire time.  Just visit the pot occasionally to stir and then do some other multi-tasking.  If you have people on your gift list that truly enjoy coffee this is a great gift and it’s very versatile.  You can mix it with No Fat 1/2 & 1/2  on the rocks or put it in your coffee or blend it with no fat frozen yogurt for a delicious adult shake.  Pick up some bottles at the Dollar Store or even Goodwill (love to recycle/reuse) and watch your friend’s face lite up when they open this years gift.  Enjoy!  For comments/questions please contact me 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

 

Basic Kahlua

4 cups water

3 cups white sugar

1/4 cup good quality instant coffee

3 Tlb. vanilla extract  – again use a good quality

2 1.2 cups vodka

1-2 vanilla beans (optional)

In a large cooking pot dissolve sugar in water over medium heat.  Stir to make sure the sugar has dissolved.  Add the coffee crystal and stir to mix in.  Bring the heat so the mixture will begin to boil for 1-2 min.  Reduce heat to simmer the mixture.  Stir every 15 min as needed for the next 1 1/2 hours.  Stir a bit more in the last half hour.  Some people don’t cook the mixture the entire time and this really takes away from the flavor.  I know it’s a bit of time but the end result will be so worth it.  Your mixture will be reduced and have a syrup consistency.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for at least 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and cool for another 30-40 min.

Stir in the vodka and once mixed pour into decorative bottles.  Place a cork or stopper in bottles.  Store in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks before you share with friends.

Note:  you can place a portion of a vanilla bean in the bottom of each bottle before you pour in the Kahlua.  Beans are very costly so I usually skip this step.  You can add other flavors to your Kahlua by using extracts in place of the vanilla or in addition to the vanilla (ie hazelnut).

 

PS – Stay tuned to the blog for the recipe that is in the bottle on the far right!  It isn’t Kahlua…..but what else might it be?  Not even a coffee flavored drink!

 

 
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