Archive | September 2012

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

This meal was originally a recipe out of Cooking Light but I found it more confusing then it had to be so I changed some things to make it more practical for a weeknight meal.  Eggplant is a good option for a vegetarian because it provides more of a “meaty” texture then other vegetables.  I find it leaves me more full then say, a salad.  It is also naturally low-fat, low-sodium and has plentiful fiber…what a perfect heart healthy food!  The fat you see reflected in the nutrition facts is from the hummus and olive oil, not the eggplant.  I would encourage everyone to try to include at least one vegetarian meal a week.  The power of plant based diets is really incredible from the research I’ve seen in my (student) “career” so far.

In the original recipe, tahini was used everywhere that I mention the hummus below.  I didn’t find it practical to spend $7 on a bottle of tahini for such a little amount, but if tahini is on hand and you’re not a hummus fan, feel free to sub it back in.

One other thing I wanted to mention for anyone newly reading.  Due to my hectic school-clinic-part time job(s) schedule, I am only able to post twice a week.  It will always be Mondays and Thursdays, with variations in the time.  I hope once I am a practicing dietitian (come May 2013!), I will have more time to experiment in the kitchen. Thanks for reading! :)

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant- adapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 4


3 tbsp. warm water

2 tbsp. roasted garlic hummus

4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. garlic powder


2 medium eggplants

cooking spray

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup chopped white onion

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (I crumbled up two pieces of whole wheat bread and added to food processor)

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1 tbsp. roasted garlic hummus

2 tsp. olive oil

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

2 eggs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (15 oz) can no-salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 medium beefsteak tomato, diced


  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl, whisk and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 475.
  3. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and cut visible flesh into a crosshatch pattern but leave intact.  Place the eggplant halves, cut side down onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 475 for 7 minutes until slightly tender and browned.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Combine 1/2 tsp. salt, onion, and next 11 ingredients (through chick peas) into a food processor.  Set aside before processing (see next step).
  5. Once eggplant has cooled, scoop out the pulp.  Take the pulp from two of the four eggplants and add to the food processor mixture, process  until smooth.  Discard pulp from other two eggplants or save for another purpose.
  6. Spoon enough chickpea mixture to fill the shell of each eggplant half.  Amounts will vary depending on size of eggplants.  *Note: you may have excess filling
  7. Bake at 475 for 25 minutes or until eggplant is tender and chickpea mixture is lightly browned.
  8. Remove eggplant halves from the oven, top each with 1.5 tbsp. of sauce and 1/4 of diced tomato.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 264 calories*, 7.4g fat (1.4g saturated fat), 43g carbohydrate (9.6g fiber), 11g protein.

*This recipe alone is low in calories and will probably leave your belly rumbling so be sure to incorporate a side dish.  I had it with a mixed greens salad as I do with most of my meals to ensure I get my vegetable servings in for the day.


Peppers, Onions and Chicken Sausage Sandwiches

Sausage is near and dear to the heart of the person I love.  I was intrigued to find a way to lighten up one of his favorite dishes so that it wouldn’t make me cringe to serve a meal served around a highly processed, high fat, pork sausage.  I did so by upping the pepper portion and lowering the sausage portion per sandwich, along with changing it to poultry.  This was the result, and while  it isn’t the best picture due to poor natural light, it was approved x 2!

Peppers, Onions and Chicken Sausage Sandwiches– adapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 4

4 (2-3 oz) whole wheat sandwich rolls

1 red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 green bell pepper, sliced thin

3 mild Italian poultry sausage links, in casings

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin

small drizzle extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

1 cup low-sodium jarred marinara sauce


  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Cut sandwich buns in half, lengthwise and scoop out most of the dough.  Place cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Broil for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.  Set aside but leave broiler on for a later step.
  4. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat with small drizzle of olive oil.  Once hot, saute sausages for about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add onions and garlic, cook for 1 minute.  Add bell peppers, and marinara sauce.  Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes until sausage is cooked through and peppers are tender.
  5. Remove sausages from the pan and slice lengthwise, making each link into 3-4 matchsticks.  Return to the pan, mix, and divide evenly between 4 sandwich bottoms.  Sprinkle each sandwich bottom with 2 tbsp. cheese and broil for 2 minutes until cheese is melted (you will need to remove the sandwich tops from the pan and set aside during this step).
  6. Place tops on and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per sandwich): 497 calories, 57g carbohydrate (9g dietary fiber), 15g fat, 5g saturated fat, 37g protein.

*Calories and carbohydrate content will be slightly less then the above facts since the bread was scooped.

Kale, Mushrooms & Cranberries Salad

Alright so we’re going to do a 180 from Monday’s post with a kale dish today. Kale is literally one of the most nutritious and healthiest vegetables on the planet.  I’d say, it is the king.  It is an excellent source of antioxidants A, C & K and is widely recognized as cancer protective.  The fiber content in the kale also helps to bind with bile acids in your blood stream which helps you to lower your blood cholesterol.  This vegetable is truly a no-brainer to put in your grocery cart. It is worth every penny to your health, and it’s pretty cheap too!

If this is your first stint with kale, you may want to start with a mixed dish such as my Baked Pasta with Kale & Chickpeas first to get used to the texture.  It is a rather “healthy” tasting veggie, so I don’t want to scare you away from it with this recipe too soon.  If kale is your thing, definitely give this salad a try.  I think you’ll be able to feel your body smiling when you eat it!

Kale, Mushrooms & Cranberries Salad– adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 4 as a side, 2 as a main dish

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 small shallots, thinly sliced

2-3 green onions, thinly sliced

8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 medium bunch kale, chopped (about 5 cups)

1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup dried cranberries


  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots, green onion, mushrooms, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes.  Add the broth and cranberries.  Bring to a boil and scrape any brown bits that clung to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  3. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper and serve.  I would suggest you serve it with a seasoned chicken breast or your favorite cut of fish which will add the needed protein to fill you up.

Nutrition Facts (serving as a side): 175 calories, 8.1g fat, 1.1g sat. fat, 25g carbohydrate (6.7g dietary fiber), 6.1g protein.  ** Also to notice: 852mg Potassium, 446% of the DV of Vitamin A & 123% of the DV of Vitamin C!

Nutrition Facts (serving as a main dish): 350 calories, 16.2g fat, 2.2g sat. fat, 50g carbohydrate (13.4g dietary fiber), 12.1g protein.  **Also to notice: 1,705mg Potassium, 891% of the DV of Vitamin A & 246% of the DV of Vitamin C!

Cookie Dough Ice Pops (slimmed down)

Now this is a healthy living blog, but everyone needs a treat every once in a while.  Especially on these early fall nights where you can still take advantage of the warmer weather as a reason to enjoy an ice cream.

I decided to post this recipe because it’s frustrating to me that some brands of ice cream pops can run you about 15 grams of fat or more per pop!  That doesn’t have to be the case, and I think these pops prove that coming in at only 1.3g of fat.  When comparing the sugar content to a regular brand of ice cream pop, these are about the same.. but it IS still ice cream after all.  This is a treat, not a daily staple, but at least it’s a treat that’s cheap and easy to make and will result in you consuming a lot less fat than a run to Cold Stone.

You will also notice at the bottom of this post that I am starting to include the nutritional information.  I got this request from a few people recently, and since it is a healthy living blog, it makes sense to tell you what you’re getting in each dish. There are a few other changes I’m hoping to put in place in the near future, one being adding a tag that will separate my meals into two categories.  One being the quicker to prepare meals (for week-nights) and the other the more labor intensive meals that may be better left for the weekend.  I hope this will help people to navigate the site better.  I love the feedback so if there’s something else you would like to see please let me know!

Cookie Dough Ice Popsslightly adapted from girlichef

Makes: 4 pops

1 1/4 cup skim milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp. mini chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate)


  1. Heat milk in microwave safe bowl for about 2 minutes or until warm.  Add in brown sugar and salt and mix until it dissolve.  Stir in vanilla.
  2. Place 1 tbsp. chocolate chips at the bottom of each popsicle mold.  Pour milk mixture into each until full.  Freeze until solid (I usually leave it overnight).

Nutrition Information (per pop): 92 calories, 1.3g fat, .8g sat fat, 1.5mg cholesterol, 22g carbohydrate (21g sugar), 2.6g protein

Sweet Potato-Chick Pea Pot Pie

Pot pie is such a hearty “comfort food.”  I love the comfort foods of fall, but too many of them can put you at a bit of an UN-comfortable weight.  Try to open your mind beyond the traditional pot pie and test out this slimmed down version!

Sweet Potato-Chick Pea Pot Pieslightly adapted from Prevention RD

Serves: 7

2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup carrots, diced

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium oil, diced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

14 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth

14 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup frozen baby peas

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

cracked pepper, to taste

dash of hot sauce



3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1.5 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup skim milk

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 egg yolk, slightly beaten



  1. Boil the potatoes and carrots until tender but not soft and set aside, about 7-8 minutes
  2. Spray a 2 1/2 quart (circle) casserole dish with cooking spray
  3. For the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the onions, saute until soft (about 5 minutes).  Sprinkle in the all-purpose flour and mix.  Slowly pour in the chicken broth, whisking well with a wire whisk.  Cook the mixture over medium heat and continue whisking until thickened and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the chickpeas, peas, cooked potatoes and carrots, salt, pepper to taste and hot sauce.  Cook on medium heat until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Distribute the filling into the prepared casserole dish.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 F
  7. For the crust, combine in a bowl the cornmeal, 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  In a separate small bowl, combine the milk, oil and egg yolk.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until uniform but a little lumpy.  Spoon the batter evenly over the filling.
  8. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Lemon Tilapia & Sun-Dried Tomato Sandwich

What a delicious protein packed sandwich this was.  I loved every bite.  It is also a quick and easy recipe, it only takes about 20 minutes start to finish.  You can use frozen fish too since it’s more convenient and you’ll be mixing it with a ton of flavor.  I will say that this is one time that I feel like the fresh herbs were really key to the flavor.  I wouldn’t recommend subbing dry herbs here.  I hope you like this one, I’m really excited about it!

Lemon Tilapia & Sun-Dried Tomato Sandwich– adapted from Giada Di Laurentiis

Makes: 2 sandwiches

5 oz tilapia (feel free to sub for another white fish of your choice)

5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, rinsed & chopped

4 tbsp. Lemon flavored Greek Yogurt 0% fat (I used Oiko’s)

1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp. fresh parsley , chopped

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (for bread & fish)

Handful of mixed greens

3 oz. ciabatta bread


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Sprinkle tilapia with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Bake for 10-11 minutes or until flaky.  Remove from oven and allow fish to cool completely.
  3. In the meantime, mix together the sun-dried tomatoes, greek yogurt, basil and parsley in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Cut ciabatta bread in half, lengthwise and scoop some of the bread out of the top half.  Drizzle both cut sides with olive oil and bake in the 400 F oven for about 6 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.  Remove bread from oven and sprinkle bottom half with garlic powder.
  5. Once tilapia is cooled, mix into the sun-dried tomato/yogurt mixture.
  6. Scoop mixture onto the bottom of the bread and top with a handful of mixed greens and the top of your sandwich.
  7. Serve with a side salad of your choice

Healthier Banana Muffins with a Crunchy Nut Surprise

Summer/early Fall is the time of year where if you don’t have air conditioning your bananas go from good to bad in about 2 days.  What to do with all those almost-bad bananas? bake! A bonus is with this recipe you don’t have to feel guilty, either.


Healthier Banana Muffins with a Crunchy Nut Surprise- slightly adapted from Prevention RD  (but there wasn’t much to adapt because her recipe was awesome!)

Makes: 12 muffins

1 cup oats
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup skim milk
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Soak the oats in the milk for one hour in the refrigerator
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Spray muffin with non stick spray, or line tray with cupcake liners.
  4. Combine the soaked oats, bananas, egg, and vanilla extract.
  5. In another bowl combine the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  6. Combine the dry and wet ingredients together. Spoon into the prepared muffin pan and fill each cup halfway. Then add small sprinkle of chopped walnuts (about 5-6) and continue to fill the muffin cups with batter.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.