Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Funny story…

…explaining a three-plus year hiatus from food blogging.  See, I decided to try this thing called graduate school and thus said good-bye to having free time to participate in any enjoyable activities.  So, Schatzi has basically been in charge of the majority of the food in our home for a few years now and this blog has sat patiently while I slave over getting a master’s.  Anyway, I was recently pawing through my cookbook collection in search of something exciting to make and I came across a book given to me by my mom several years ago that has all sorts of healthy bread recipes: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a DayAfter much debate, I decided to attempt a whole wheat brioche loaf.

For this relatively easy, wholesome bread, you need:

  • 4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 packets granulated yeast
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 5 eggs
  • egg wash (1 beaten egg+1 tbsp water)

One of the nice things about this recipe is that while it makes enough for 2 big loaves or however else you want to use the dough, you don’t have to immediately bake it. You can store the leftover dough in the fridge for up to five days, using it as needed. To start, whisk together your flour, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a huge bowl. A few helpful hints: make sure you really read the ingredients list. I grabbed a simple small box of wheat gluten, thinking it was enough. Oh no. You need 2 and a quarter cups of the stuff. Read ahead and save yourself a trip to the store!  Also, save yourself a bunch of dirty bowls and just start off with the biggest one you have. After all, there are almost 10 cups of dry ingredients in the dough!  Next, mix the liquids and then add them to the dry ingredients. I used a big wooden spoon to stir the dough until everything was just combined–no kneading is required and any lumps will settle out during baking.


Place a loose lid or damp kitchen towel over the dough and let it rise and flatten on top for about 2 hours.  Then, put it in the fridge for at least another 2 hours. When you’re ready to bake, grease a nonstick loaf pan. Dust the chilled dough with some flour and cut off a 2-pound chunk. Add a little more flour as needed and shape the dough into a ball, then place it in your prepared pan. Cover the ball loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to rest, again, for about an hour and 45 minutes.


Brush the surface with the egg wash to make your finished product nice and golden.


Bake at 350 with the loaf as close to the center of the oven as possible, for 40-45 minutes. The bread is done when it is golden brown and the top is firm, but not necessarily crisp or crackly. Leave the loaf in the pan 10 minutes to let it release, then remove it to a cooling rack to completely cool.


Slice and enjoy! The brioche is delicious served warm by itself,


spread with your favorite toast toppings, or with eggs and bechamel.


Enjoy! I still have half a recipe to use in the fridge, and am looking forward to attempting a few more tasty creations with this nutritious base recipe.



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…can be a real challenge, at least in this house!  Schatzi and I both love to cook, but it is hard to come home from a long day at work and put a fresh meal on the table.  Enter the wonder that is the fish supper!  Meals cooked with fish can literally be thrown together in a matter of minutes, like this dinner from Food Network Magazine.  It is delicious, nutritious, and comes together in “the flashest of flashes.”

For fish and mushrooms you need:

  • 4 6-oz. arctic char fillets (we subbed in whitefish)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp. chives
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
  • 2 bunches arugula, trimmed

Heat the oven to 350.  Season the fillets with salt and pepper and heat a tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  If you use the salmon, add it to the skillet and sear until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.  If you use a thinner fish, cook it for just a minute.  Flip the fish onto a lightly greased baking sheet and continue cooking them in the oven for another 4 minutes, 2-3 if you use a thinner fish.

Wipe out the skillet, place it back on the stove and add the rest of the oil.  Add the mushrooms and cook without moving them for a minute, just until browned.  Stir them a bit and continue cooking until browned all over. Stir in the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes, until they are soft.  Whisk in the mustard and vinegar, bringing the mixture to a boil.  Take the veggies off the heat and add the parsley and chives.

Meanwhile, drizzle the arugula with some oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Serve a plate of salad with a fillet topped with the mushrooms.

This dinner really is super-easy to throw together, and it has under 400 calories!  I’m sure it is probably even better with salmon, but really, the sauce goes great with any plain old fish.  The next time you are in a time crunch, give this fish dinner a try.


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…was a completely new experience for me–I had never eaten it until I made Rocco’s version to go with chicken and dumplings.  It is delicious!  Why am I just now jumping on the creamed spinach train?!

For Rocco’s slimmed-down spinach you need:

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 shallots, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 12 oz. spinach
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt

Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the garlic and shallots along with salt, pepper, and nutmeg for about 4 minutes, until the onions are tender.

Increase the heat to high and add half the spinach.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Stir the spinach as it wilts, and when there is enough room, add the rest of the greens.  Continue cooking the spinach until it is tender, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the spinach and stir well.  Cook the spinach a bit more until the liquid has thickened a bit, about 1 minute.  Then, take the pan off the heat and stir in the yogurt.  Season with a bit more salt and pepper and the veggies are done.

Spinach has been one of my favorite vegetables for quite awhile, so I am still shocked it took me this long to try/make creamed spinach!  I could eat enough of this stuff to turn into Popeye, I kid you not.  If you already know you love creamed spinach, you must give this a try–the original version has almost 300 calories, and Rocco takes it to less than 100.  You really can’t go wrong!


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…are horrible for you, let’s just face it.  We made Rocco’s Chicken and Dumplings last weekend, and I think he puts it best: “This is a southern comfort food dish that some say came straight out of the Great Depression as a way to stretch a little bit of chicken to feed a big family.  Flour and fat are combine to form a dumpling (such a sweet name for such an insidious food, don’t you think?) that is then cooked in broth.  In real life, those sweet little dumplings are calorie bombs that call for a healthier version–like this one.”

For Rocco’s delicious, healthier dumplings you need:

  • 1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large celery stalks, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked/shredded chicken
  • 2/3 cup Bisquick (heart-healthy version)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Whisk together the cornstarch, chicken broth, and milk.  Pour the mixture into a large pot and bring it to a boil while whisking constantly.  Add the veggies and season with salt and pepper, returning the mixture to a boil.  When it’s bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the chicken to the vegetable mixture and raise the heat to medium-low.  Cover the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.

Meanwhile, combine the Bisquick and buttermilk to make a soft dough.  Drop 12 spoonfuls of dough into the soup pot, spreading the dumplings out as much as you can.  Cover the pot again and simmer until the dumplings have cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the dumplings with the parsley, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and ladle the mixture into a soup bowl.

Dumplings can be tricky and time consuming, but these come together super-fast and are absolutely fantastic!  And, of course, you can feel way better about eating a bowl of Rocco’s dumplings:

fat before: 50g           fat after: 6g

calories before: 845     calories after: 269

We had been wanting a comforting bowl of chicken and dumplings, but didn’t want to put in the work (or suffer the calorie punch!).  We were quite glad to find Rocco’s recipe and were very happy to eat it! The dumplings are absolutely delicious and hit the spot without a doubt.


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…is hard to beat when you are craving a creamy bowl of pasta.  But, that pesky guilt factor is almost always present when I try to enjoy it!  Alas, Rocco makes quite the excellent version of fettuccine, so now I can have my comfort food and eat it, too!

For Rocco’s fettuccine alfredo you need:

  • 8 oz. whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley, for garnish

Boil some salted water and cook the pasta for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook just until it becomes fragrant.

Combine the cornstarch and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk in the broth.  Add this mixture to the garlic and bring to a simmer over medium-high, whisking occasionally.  Then, whisk in 1/2 cup of cheese until it melts.  Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the yogurt until smooth.

Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and garnish with a bit of parsley and the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.

Serve a plate of pasta along with a spinach salad and some crusty bread.

You won’t believe how good this pasta is until you try it!  And, with 10 vs. 75 grams of fat and 336 vs. 1,220 calories, it just tastes all the better!


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…is not a dish that excites many people.  However,  last week we made Ellie Krieger’s version of tuna casserole and absolutely loved it!

For Ellie’s healthy casserole you need:

  • 5 slices whole-wheat bread, crusts included
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
  • 10 oz. mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat fettuccine noodles, broken into thirds and cooked according to package directions
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 10 oz. frozen peas, thawed
  • 24 oz. chunk light tuna in water, drained

Preheat the oven to 425.  Tear the pieces of bread into large chunks and toss them in the food processor for a few seconds to turn them into fine breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium.  Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the celery and cook 5 more minutes, stirring often.  Then, stir in the mushrooms until they are golden, another (you guessed it) five minutes.  Add the flour and quickly stir it in to dissolve amongst the veggies and their juices.  Once it is dissolved, stir in the milk and broth and bring the mixture to a bubble.  Knock the heat back to a simmer and let the mixture thicken and reduce, about 8 minutes.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Mix the tuna, noodles, broccoli, and peas with the sauce and pour into a 9×13.  Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs and bake it for 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

We made some delicious lemon-anchovy broccoli from Food Network Magazine to go alongside the casserole.  You need:

  • 1 bunch of broccoli florets
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 1 punch crushed red pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • olive oil

Simply toss your florets in some boiling salted water for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the garlic, red pepper, and anchovies.  Stir the fish until they dissolve into a paste.

Toss the broccoli with the anchovy mixture and lemon juice, then season it with a bit of salt and a drizzle more of oil.

Serve a plate of casserole (a serving is 1.5 cups) and the broccoli alongside.

I would be willing to bet that most of you are not at all convinced this is a meal worth trying, particularly the broccoli!  Alas, I am here to tell you that you’re wrong.  The casserole is full of delicious, creamy flavors, and in all honesty, the broccoli actually steals the show!  It is a bit salty and has a delicious hint of heat–absolutely delicious.  Challenge your taste buds and give both dishes a shot–I think you will be pleasantly surprised!


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…is something we have been wanting to try our hand at for quite some time now.  This whole wheat Neopolitan-style pizza with tomato sauce, turkey sausage, and mozzarella is another of Dr. Ian’s healthy recipes, and we really enjoyed making (and eating!) it.

For this healthy homemade pizza’s dough you need:

  • 3/4 cup water at 105 degrees
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

Pour the warm water into a small bowl and stir in the packet of yeast.  Let the mixture stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Brush a large bowl with the olive oil and set aside.  Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Add the yeast mixture and 3 tbsp. oil.  Process until the mixture forms a very sticky ball.

Place the dough ball on a lightly floured surface and knead it for a minute until it becomes smooth.  Add more flour if the dough is still really sticky.  Place the dough in the prepared bowl and turn it a few times to coat with the oil.  Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until it has doubled in volume, about an hour.  Store it in a warm place while it is rising.

For the tomato sauce you need:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. parsley

Saute the onion in a drizzle of oil over low heat.  Cover the pan and cook the onion for about 10 minutes.  Then, add the garlic and basil, return the lid to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes.  Add the wine, cooking until the liquid is reduced by half.

Mix in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes.  Add the parsley.

For the pizza you need:

  • flour for coating
  • 12 oz. fresh tomato, sliced
  • 6 oz. turkey sausage, crumbled/cooked
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 12 oz. buffalo or regular mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 350.  Press the prepared dough into an 8″  disk and place on a pizza pan or stone coated in flour.  Make sure the dough is thinly rolled.

Spread the tomato sauce on the dough and add the tomato slices, turkey, and garlic.  Top with the mozzarella.  This is a huge pizza!!!

Bake the pizza for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese is nice and melted.

Add the chopped basil leaves and cut the pizza into slices.  Serve a nice crisp salad alongside.

It’s a bit of work, but this homemade pizza is incredibly worth it!  It is absolutely delicious, and at under 600 calories a serving, I will gladly put the work in!  This pizza is also a great source of protein and fiber, so you can have your pizza night and not have to worry about paying for it on the treadmill in the morning!


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