Archive | December 2012

Healthy Tuna Melts

There’s a couple major perks to this recipe.  One, it is an excellent source of protein without the high fat of other protein sources. Two, it’s got as much fiber as my morning bowl of oatmeal.  Three, it’s very very easy!  The hint of cheese gives it the tuna melt flavor without covering it in tons of saturated fat.  As much as I enjoy my Avocado Tuna Melts, this is a similar but slightly slimmed down version.


Healthy Tuna Melts adapted from Emeril’s Kicked-Up Tuna Melts
Serves: 4
4 cans (5 ounces each) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
1/2 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
4 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 slices 100% Whole Wheat Low Sodium Bread
8 thin slices tomato
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese,  shredded
  1. Heat broiler, with rack in highest position. Arrange bread on a baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine tuna, Greek yogurt, onion, capers, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano and stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Divide tuna salad evenly among bread slices that have already been arranged on the baking sheet, then top each with 2 slices tomato and 1/8 cup (or small sprinkle) of cheddar cheese. Broil until cheese is golden brown and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 260 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated), 14.3g carbohydrate (3.3g fiber), 44.6g protein


Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas


No recipe today because I have not had time to cook in the last few days. To be honest, I haven’t really slept either!  There is something new and sparkly on my finger which is distracting all of my attention!  On Friday in Rockefeller center I said “yes” to the future Mr.applebutterharmony :)


I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!!  See you Thursday with a recipe :)

Creamy Chicken Pumpkin Soup

As much as October is “pumpkin month” to me, this one caught my eye and I had to have it.  Even though it is December – yikes, how did that happen so fast!  As always, I’m sad to see the fall go.  I find January-April the worst time of year.  Everything is dead.  No farmers markets.  No warmth in the air.  No exciting holidays.  Just, yuck.  Luckily the next few days are my favorite of all 365, so I will definitely be enjoying them while they’re here.  Hopefully you will, too! :)


Creamy Chicken Pumpkin Soup– adapted from Picky Palate

Serves: 6 as main course – 8 as side

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 chicken breasts (1-1.5 lbs)- see step #1
32 oz reduced sodium vegetable broth
14.5 ounce can organic pumpkin puree
1/3 cup light cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker with about 1/2 cup of water.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours.  I would recommend putting it on in the morning and then when you get home from work it will be ready to go for the rest of the recipe.
  2. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots, stirring and cooking for about 15 minutes, until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add shredded chicken, vegetable broth, pumpkin, cream, salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir to combine and heat over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. Once hot, stir in cheese to melt. Taste and season accordingly.

Nutrition Facts (per serving for main course): 344 calories, 15g fat (4g saturated), 16.3g carbohydrate, 33g protein, 593 mg potassium!

Thin Minty Hot Cocoa

When I think of Halloween, I think candy corns.  Easter? Peanut butter eggs. Christmas? Mint.  York peppermint patties, Andes mints, even Junior Mints… get in my belly!

I’m not sure how or why this happened but mint = Christmas to me.  Here’s a quick easy recipe that gives you that delicious taste of a cocoa without a heavy whipped topping or full fat milk base.  It’s still a splurge rather then an every day drink, but it’s the holidays after all!  If you don’t happen to have 10 boxes of thin mints lying around because your boyfriend has no control when it comes to girl scouts, you can substitute for grated chocolate.

Unfortunately with the lack of a whipped topping, it doesn’t make for such a pretty picture.  In order to not discourage you, I’ll leave the picture up to your imagination this time, but trust me when I say it was very tasty!

Thin Minty Hot Cocoa

Serves: 2

1 cup skim milk

1 cup Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (you will have to buy the whole 64 oz carton, but you can re-use for thin minty hot cocoas for up to 10 days)

2 thin mint girl scout cookies, finely grated

8-10 junior mints

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract (optional)


  1. Heat skim and almond milk in a small pot over medium heat.  Stir in peppermint extract, junior mints, and grated thin mint cookies until melted and warmed through.
  2. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 185 calories, 4.3g fat, 31.5g carbohydrate, 5.5g protein


Also.. this is my 100th post!  It still surprises me that a fun project I decided to start actually turned into something that people read.  If you’re one of them, thank you!

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with White Bean-Parsley Sauce

 When I was home for Thanksgiving I had a conversation with my sister about getting beans into her diet to provide some more fiber and protein to her simple carb-loving heart.  Her response was that she doesn’t like the texture of beans.  I think this is a common feeling that people have.  Behold, this recipe.  Making it into a sauce is a great way to get the fiber into you, while your mind tricks you into believing it’s just another fatty Alfredo-type sauce.  Now your body and your mind win!


Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with White Bean-Parsley Sauceslightly adapted from Vanilla & Spice

Serves: 5

1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces (roughly 4 cups)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

14.5 oz box dried whole wheat fusilli pasta

For the sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp. dried parsley leaves

1 can no-salt-added cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Sprinkle of salt and fresh ground pepper

1/2-3/4 cup vegetable stock


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Chop cauliflower into bite sized pieces.  Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Roast for 25-35 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and dried parsley and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the beans, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook until beans are heated through, 3-4 minutes.
  3. If you don’t have a handheld immersion blender (don’t I wish I did!), transfer contents of the pan to a blender or food processor and blend, gradually adding ½ cup of vegetable stock. If you are making the sauce ahead of time, transfer it to a small saucepan and keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.  Drain and return pasta to the pot.  Add the sauce and the cauliflower and stir until thoroughly mixed. If the sauce is too thick, add more of the remaining 1/4 cup vegetable stock.
  5. Serve with a side salad or vegetables to slightly bring up the calorie content of this meal but not the carbs.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 474 calories, 8.1g fat (.8g saturated), 81g carbohydrate (15g fiber), 22.8g protein

Kidney Bean, Arugula & Avocado Tacos

Taco’s are a big favorite in my house, although, not so much for me.  After these babies- I will look forward to the occasional taco night, too!  Another perk, this is super easy for a weeknight meal.  Enjoy!


Kidney Bean, Arugula & Avocado Tacos

Serves: 3

6 hard shell whole wheat taco shells

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (use dry beans if you have them)

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 large white onion, diced

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper


1/2 avocado, pitted and diced

4 oz 50% light pepper jack cheese (I used Cabot)

2 medium plum tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup medium salsa

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 large handfuls fresh arugula, washed and chopped


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet.  Saute onion for 5 minutes or until almost translucent.  Add beans, chili powder and cayenne.  Heat until beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Remove from heat and divide between 6 tortilla shells.  Divide toppings evenly among 6 tortillas in this recommended order: pepper jack cheese, salsa, tomatoes, Greek yogurt, avocado, arugula.

Nutrition Facts (per 2 taco serving): 440 calories, 48g carbohydrate (22g fiber!!), 27g protein!!, 19g fat (10g unsaturated)


I was very excited about this delicious looking recipe when it appeared on my Google Reader, until I saw the word “phyllo.”  You see, my last experience with phyllo dough was… rough.  For a senior project during my first degree at JMU, I had to plan, implement and cook for a themed dinner event.  The event was for 175 people and took months and months and months to plan.  My group and I did everything from budgeting, to creating the recipes, to BEO’s, to management descriptions, to training plans for our “staff,” to purchasing everything we needed.  It was a true culmination of four years of school for business and hospitality.  If we learned it, we used it.

We even rented machines to hang decor from the ballroom ceiling…

Theme Dinner 010
Like the result?

Theme Dinner 050

One of our biggest challenges however, was the dreaded phyllo dough.  We were warned.. should have listened to you, Tassie! Although in an attempt to keep with our authentic Moroccan theme, we went for it.  One of our courses was a classic chicken b’stilla recipe.  We were lucky enough to be provided with the recipe from an authentic Moroccan that we met during a visit to Washington, D.C.  He owned the restaurant that we ate at in order to learn more about the cuisine, and was a very kind and generous chef.  After our taste tests, we knew we had to serve it.  Crispy phyllo dough filled with shredded chicken, an almond mixture, traditional spices, and sweet powdered sugar.  I might not be selling it too well, but it was one of the most delicious dishes I’d ever eaten.  One day, I’ll tackle it again and get in on the blog.  To say the least, creating 175 of these little pockets was an adventure that lasted long into the night…

Theme Dinner 001
Just one tiny tear in the paper-thin dough quickly leads to a huge hole and you have to start allllllll over..

Theme Dinner 002

I wasn’t just the photographer, I swear.

Unfortunately we were running around like head-less chickens on the night of the event, so this is the best picture of the dish that I have, which does not do it justice..

Theme Dinner 091

On a nostalgic note, my group for that project was sincerely the best group I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.  We all shared the work equally, were open to each others ideas, sincerely cared about the outcome of our event, and best of all, found five new friends in each other.

Graduation 003

Hard work aside, we also knew how to celebrate when the craziness was over :)

themedinner 001

Well, I’ll stop babbling about old memories now.  Here’s what you’re looking for…the Spanakopita! Doesn’t if just look tasty??



I followed the recipe directly from here and it worked perfectly.  No changes necessary.  I hope you enjoy it too, and don’t fear the phyllo dough!  It was MUCH less complicated then I remember.

Have you had any bad experiences with phyllo dough?