Friday, January 21, 2011

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole (Better Homes and Gardens)

This is what we had for dinner today; it makes six servings, so we'll have it again tomorrow.  We absolutely do not have seconds; it's a house rule.  Today I heated a can of spinach and made a small tomato and lettuce salad to go with it.  We really try to push the vegetables around here.  

prep time: 20 minutes     Bake:  25 minutes      Oven:  425     Stand:  5 minutes        Makes:  6 servings

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 6.9-ounce package chicken-flavored rice and vermicelli mix (In other words, Ricearoni, but I use Walmart's brand)
14 ounces chicken broth (1 can, if you're using canned)
2 cups water
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup chopped, seeded tomato (2 medium)  Lacking fresh tomatoes, I rinsed and drained a pint of home-canned tomatoes and chopped them.  Works fine.
1 4-ounce can of diced green chile peppers, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed 
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (my own addition)  
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.  In a saucepan cook onion and pepper in hot oil over medium heat until tender.  Stir in rice and vermicelli mix (including seasonings packet); cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in broth and water.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes (liquid will not be fully absorbed).
2.  Transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in chicken, tomato, chile peppers, chili powder, basil, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Transfer to a 2-quart casserole.  
3.  Bake, covered, in a 425 degree oven about 25 minutes or until heated through.  Uncover and sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  

MAKE-AHEAD DIRECTIONS:  Prepare as above through step 2.  Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Bake, covered, in a 425 degree oven about 40 minutes or until heated through.  Uncover and sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand for  5 minutes.  You can also freeze this, but allow more cooking time.

Better Homes and Gardens chili

(low fat)

12 ounces ground beef or turkey
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 ½ ounce can tomatoes
1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon pepper
cayenne pepper to taste

  1. In a large saucepan cook ground meat, onion, sweet pepper and garlic till meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain fat. Stir in undreained tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, basil and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Makes about five cups (4 main-dish servings).
Nurtrition facts per serving: 308 cal, 11 g total fat (4 g sat fat), 53 mg chol, 755 mg sodium, 31 grams carbo, 9 g fiber, 26 g protein
daily values: 17% vit A, 66% vit. C, 6% calcium, 29% iron  

If you do as I do and use salt-free beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce, the sodium count will be lower than what is shown.  Better Homes and Gardens cookbook rates this as "low-fat".    I always make a double batch and freeze some.  Chili freezes beautifully.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our hamburger stew

I've never had a recipe for this, but sometimes people will ask for the recipe.  I'm making it today, so I wrote things down as I cooked.  The lady who first told me about hamburger stew didn't use tomatoes or okra.  I wouldn't even be making this today if I'd realized there's no cabbage in the house; cabbage absolutely makes it, but I'm sure we'll suffer through.  Like any vegetable soup, it's adaptable and you really don't need a recipe.  This is one way of making a pound of hamburger feed eight people (or two people for three days).  We really like cayenne pepper; you might want to use less, or none at all.  

1 pound ground beef
2 medium stalks of celery
one large onion
2 cloves minced garlic
Brown all these together until the meat is browned and the vegetables are soft.  Then add:  

1 quart (2 cans) tomatoes
1 quart water
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
3 or 4 large carrots
about 3 pounds of potatoes

cook until potatoes and carrots are almost done, then add:  
3/4 cup quick barley
2 cups okra, fresh or frozen  

Cook another 10 or 15 minutes and it should be ready.  You can substitue rice or pasta for the barley (give the rice 20 minutes cooking time in the soup).  I'm cooking garbanzo beans for the freezer today, and I may throw a cup of those in.  

On, if you are a member (it's free) you can type in all the ingredients to a home-made recipe like this and find out the calories and nutrients per serving.  Here's what I came up with:

For a two-cup serving:  Calories, 279; total fat, 12.3 g; sat. fat, 5.0 g; mono-saturated fat, 5.5 g; cholesterol, 43.8 mg; sodium, 473.4 mg; potassium, 892.5 mg; total carbohydrates, 29.4 grams; dietary fiber, 4.9 grams; sugars, 3.8 grams; protein, 13.9 grams.  Just click on the picture below to see other nutrients; you won't find many meals that are this loaded with good things.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

barley-vegetable medley


1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup sweet pepper
1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrot
2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules 
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large tomato, chopped

1.  Bring 1 1/2 cup water to boiling.  Stir in corn, barley, inion, sweet pepper, carrot, bouillon granules, basil, thyme, oregano and pepper.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 10minutes or till barley is tender, stirring occasionally.  Drain barley mixture.  Stir in tomato.  Cook and stir about one minute more or till heated through.  Makes 6 side-dish servings.

100 calories, 1 g total fat, 306 mg sodium, 22 g carbo., 3 g fiber, 4 g protein
42% vit. A, 22% vit C, 1% calcium, 7% iron


I only make this in the summer and fall when my garden is producing.

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cubed, peeled eggplant
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/2 cups) 
1 cup chopped, peeled tomato (2 medium) or one 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or oregano 
1.  In a large skillet cook onion and garlic over medium heat till tender.  Stir in all other ingredients.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Uncover and cook about 5 minutes more or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste.  

77 calories, 4 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 75 mg sodium, 10 g carbo, 3 grams fiber, 1 gram protein
4% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C, 1% calcium, 4% iron


I haven't tried this yet, but I know I'll like it, just looking at the ingredients.

five servings

"Tender cooked chickpeas are simmered lightly with tomatoes, lemon juice and onions in a spicy blend of toasted cumin seeds, chili powder and lemon pepper. Served warm, this makes a deliciously fragrant appetizer."
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans,
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 onion, chopped
1.In a large pot over low heat, warm oil and cumin; heat until cumin turns a darker shade of brown.
2.Add salt, chili powder and lemon and pepper seasoning; mix well. Stir in tomatoes; once the juice begins to thicken add in chickpeas and mix well.
3.Add in lemon juice and mix well; add onions and stir until they become soft.
4.Remove from heat and place into a serving bowl; serve immediately.

Calories: 71 | Total Fat: 5.8g | Cholesterol: 0mg

Monday, January 17, 2011


1 1/4 cups wheat or oat bran
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup Egg Beaters (I use egg whites)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 cup raisins, snipped dried apricots, or snipped dried apples

1.  Spray bottoms of twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with Pam; set aside.  In a mixing bowl, combine bran, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Make a well in the center of the dry mixture; set aside.
2.  In another bowl combine applesauce, milk, honey, egg whites and oil.  Add applesauce mixture all at once to dry mixture.  Stir just till moistened.  Fold in raisins.
3.  Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling each 2/3 full.  Bake in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.
126 calories, 2 g total fat (0 saturated fat) 0 chol., 138 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.  6% daily calcium, 10% iron.

Crustless pumpkin pie

Do you love pumpkin pie as much as I do?

It's the healthiest holiday dessert that exists!  But you can make it a PERFECT holiday, or any-time-of-the-year, dessert.

Forget the crust.

Take your favorite pumpkin pie filling recipe.

Substitute non-fat evaporated milk for the  regular kind.

For every egg, substitute 2  egg whites.

Add 1/2 cup of flour (ideally 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour) to the mix.

Spray a pie pan with Pam, and pour the filling in.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Serve with a tablespoon full of lower fat Cool Whip.

You'll think you are sinning, but you aren't.

Healthified chicken tortilla casserole

I found this on the "Eat Better America" website.  This may be a copyright infringement;
if so I'll remove it, if asked to do so.

58% less sat fat • 50% less fat • 27% fewer calories than the original recipe—see the comparison. Smart ingredient changes keep the flavor but cut the fat by 11 grams per serving in this Mexican-inspired easy-mix oven bake. Fromeatbetteramerica.

prep time:20 min
start to finish:1 hr 15 min
makes:8 servings

1can (10 3/4 oz) 98% fat free 45% less sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1container (8 oz) fat-free sour cream
1/2cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 1/2teaspoons chili powder
1/2teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2cups shredded cooked chicken breast
8yellow corn tortillas (6 or 7 inch), torn into bite-size pieces
1medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1 1/2cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend (6 oz)

1.Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix soup, chiles, sour cream, milk, chili powder and cumin until blended. Stir in chicken, tortillas and bell pepper. Stir in tomato and 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon and spread mixture in baking dish.
2.Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Heat oven to 375°F.

Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 270 (Calories from Fat 100); Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 5g, Trans Fat 0g);Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 610mg; Total Carbohydrate 22g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 4g); Protein22Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 15%; Calcium 20%; Iron 8Exchanges: 1 1/2Starch0 Other Carbohydrate0 Vegetable2 1/2 Very Lean Meat1 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.