Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chicken Burgers and the Bridge Run

Tonight was our last night before our trip.  We're headed down to historic Charleston, South Carolina for the Cooper River Bridge Run tomorrow.  We are both taking personal days in order to go down early and enjoy some time to ourselves before our run.  A little shopping, a little walking downtown historic Charleston, and a dinner of pasta at an Italian restaurant downtown.  (gotta have that pre-race fuel)

So with packing, and cleaning, and all the other chores that go on in our lives at McCabe Castle, I opted to try a Sam's Club special.  I saw these last week when we were loading up on our staples and thought they would be great for nights such as these.

They are Carmelized Onion & Swiss Chicken burgers by Old World Kitchen.  There are eight patties in the container - two sealed packs of four patties each.

The patties must be completely thawed before use.  Then they can be heated in any number of ways - pan fried, broiled in the oven, toaster oven, George Foreman grill, or as I did tonight - I threw them on the gas grill out side for a few mintutes on each side.

Thawed out and ready to go.
It doesn't take long on each side as they are fully cooked already.

Smellivison would be great. Mmmm....

Loaded up with a whole wheat light bun, reduced-fat pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and some slices of avocado.  Serve up with a side of Kellogg's Special K Cracker chips (and a couple tater tots I stole from my daughter's plate!)

The patties are 180 calories each and great for those in a hurry meals. 

Enjoy!  I did!  Wish me luck in the Bridge Run.  There will only be 43,000 of us running.... and I'm excited for this 10k - my first.  I hope to get some pics while running for a blog post.  The goal is to complete the 6.2 miles without the aid of EMS!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sausage and Cheese Scones

Here is another recipe variation from Cooking Light - Comfort Food cookbook.  Of my many, many cookbooks, this has become one of my favorites, and I like to read it often.

The original recipe calls this the Ham and Cheese Scone, but being raised a southern boy I have to opt for the sausage.  Now eating a much healthier lifestyle, that sausage must be some Jimmy Dean turkey sausage too! 

I was a little apprehensive in making these.  Bread recipes have not always turned out very well for me in the past. ( I am getting much better at it thought).  So I had to call in my favorite bread expert - Katlyn, my baby boy's girlfriend.  Yes, we love her bunches and she was home from college this weekend when I made them.  They passed the Katlyn test on the bread-o-meter, so I was ok!  They were good - a great way to start the day!

9oz. all purpose flour - about 2 cups
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. Splenda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
3 Tbsp. chilled butter cut into small pieces
3/4 cup shredded cheese ( I use reduced fat extra sharp cheddar)
3/4 cup reduced fat butter milk
3 Jimmy Dean sausage patties (thawed and chopped into cubes)
2 large egg whites

How to:
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and Splenda and blend.  Add chilled and using a pastry knife or two knives, or as I do - my hands, mix the butter with the flour mixture until it is all blended in.

Stir in cheese and sausage

Combine buttermilk and egg whites in a measuring cup.  Whisk to blend well. 
Add to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead 4-5 times with floured hands, then pat dough out to about an 8 inch round on a greased baking sheet or stone.  With a floured knife cut the scone into 8 sections, but take care not to cut all the way through the dough.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Finish cutting through the slices, and serve warm!  Each slice checks in around 217 calories.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Tangy Coleslaw

This recipe comes from my Cooking Light Comfort Food cookbook (one of my favorites).  It is great with pork loin, especially the leftovers in a sandwich!  It's also pretty easy to make and taste better the next day.


1/2 a head of raw cabbage
1 thinly sliced red onion
1 cup of grated carrot
1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. of Splenda
2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayo
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

 How to:

Combine cabbage, onion and carrot in a large bowl.  Combine vinegar, Splenda, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, red pepper in a small bowl blending well with a whisk.  Add mustard mixture to the cabbage mixture, and toss well to coat.  Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes.  Stir before serving. 

Serving size equals one cup for 58 calories!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits - Light Style

Today my baby boy was heading back to college after his spring break.  We only got to see him for a couple of days as he was in Chicago with the Clemson University Fellowship of Christian Atheletes group on a mission trip.  So as a send off I made our Sunday dinner, but added a special treat for him.  He loves bread, so I attempted some buttermilk biscuits. 

I got the idea to make these "light" biscuits from the breakfast we had this morning - Scones with sausage and cheese, but that's another post to come...  To make these I would use the same base without the meat and cheese, then roll out the dough and cut.  Sounded simple enough, so there was the plan!


3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Splenda
3/4 cup Reduced Fat Buttermilk (Fat free if you can find it!)
1 egg
1 egg white
Extra flour for dusting, etc...

How to:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, Splenda, baking powder, salt.

Add butter and cut in with a pastry knife, two knives, or as I do mash and crumble with your hands until it is blended with the dry mix well.

In a measuring cup add buttermilk, egg and egg white, whisking to blend well. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well.

Drop mixture onto a lightly floured work surface or cutting board. Knead 4 -5 times dusting lightly with flour slightly to reduce stickiness.

With a rolling pin roll dough out to about 1/2 thickness.

Using biscuit cutter, cut out as many 'rounds' as possible and place them on a greased baking sheet or an ungreased baking stone. ( I like my stone )

Take remaining scraps and knead back into a ball and repeat rolling until all dough is used.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned

Serving Size: Makes 14 standard size biscuits

Before the clean up

Ready to go in the oven

 These turned out better than I expected.  They only add up to 92 calories per biscuit as well, which means - BREAKFAST with a piece of Turkey Sausage in the morning!


Friday, March 23, 2012

It's a WRAP..Veggie and Cold Cut Wraps.

I said in my last post, Lunch Crunch, planning ahead is crucial to eating healthy during meal time at work.  As an itinerant teacher moving from school to school each day, I utilize my lunchmate cooler.  Many times I am packing my leftovers from meals made the night before, but occassionally I have to result to cold cuts - hence my veggie and cold cut wraps.

I make these in the morning before heading out.  Put them in the cooler with some Special K Cracker Chips and I'm good to go for a light lunch!

Ole Spinach tortilla wrap - (75 calories)
Fat Free Ham (I use DAK ham from Sam's Club) 30 calories per slice (1-2 slices)
2 - 3 Baby Carrots sliced and quartered length-wise

1 Tbsp. sliced green onion
A few banana pepper slices
1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese (35 calories)
1 Tbsp red onion, chopped
2 leaves of Romaine lettuce
Horseradish mustard by French's (or your brand)
3-4 grape tomatoes sliced in half

Start with the ham, it will keep the wrap from getting to moist
This mustard is perfect for wraps, but use your favorite mustard
Ready to "Roll 'Em Up!"

Wrap it in plastic wrap and pack it in the cooler.  Don't forget to pack your Cracker Chips and a piece of fruit for a snack and you're ready to roll in ten minutes or so.

(* Sometimes I make two and put one in the fridge to save time for the NEXT morning.)


Lunch Crunch

Meal time during working hours can be an "expansive" undertaking.  Yes, I said expansive, not expensive, although it can be expensive as well.  I meant to say expansive, because meal time while working usually causes expansion of our waistlines, hips, etc...

When we fail to plan for our meals during our busy work schedule we will often make several poor decisions.  Some of the poor decisions I have made include, eating while working, hitting the drive thru, and not planning ahead.  The latter, not planning ahead, is the catalyst for all the other poor decisions.

Eating while working is a bad move, because you do not allow yourself the time to enjoy the food.  You don't really get to taste it.  I gulped it down without even thinking about it.  This causes one of two things - A. I'm still hungry because I don't realize what I've eaten, or B. I over eat and become miserable and really didn't even enjoy myself in the process! 

SLOW DOWN!  Life is a journey not a destination.  We ALL have hectic schedules that we weave ourselves into, and that in itself is not a bad thing, but it can be if we don't allow ourselves the time WE need to be US.  Take a few minutes from the work and sit away from your desk, and bite, cut, chew and savor your food.  Your body and mental disposition will thank you for it.

As far as drive-thru's are concerned, well do we really even need to go there?  Come on.  What can you really get and enjoy from a drive thru?  Yes there are always exceptions to the rule, but let's face it.  You're already in a hurry and your going to make a healthy choice for lunch at a menu board that asks, "Do you want fries with that?  Or should I Super-size it for you?"  If you MUST have fast food, get out of the car and go inside to order.  Believe it or not, face to face meetings can keep you accountable for making better choices.

My fast food of choice - SUBWAY.  Yes, "Eat Fresh!".  When I fail to plan ahead and make my lunch, or some unfortunate events caused me to not have the time to prepare my own lunch, I rely on my friends at Subway.

A Veggie Delite salad loaded with fresh veggies (spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, banana peppers, and red onions) is about 60 calories without any cheese.  Have them spread the red wine vinegar on the salad and some salt, pepper and oregano.  Ready to go for about 6 bucks with tax and a water.

I have them pack some packets of red wine vinegar and ONE packet of oil.  The oil is another 45 calories by itself.  I put the oil on when I'm ready to eat so it doesn't get everything to soggy. 

These Elves led by Ernie are EVIL!

They always pack these little devils called CLUB CRACKERS in my bag.  I usually ask that they don't because I'll eat them.  The problem with eating them is this - one pack (two crackers) is more calories than the whole salad!!  One pack is 70 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Instead, if I have time and plan ahead, I pack some fat free croutons and spread them on top of my salad.

The whole meal, with 2 Tbsp of my fat free croutons, and the pack of oil and vinegar is right around 135 calories.  Yes. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE calories.  Yes, you may add the cheese if you wish.  It won't break the bank and will give you some dairy.  Stay away from the devilish elves crackers though - empty calories!

Today I actually had time to take my salad back home to eat.  I added the 1/4 grilled chicken breast that my baby girl didn't finish to the salad for some protein before my work out.

Make better choices.  Don't let the rush of our culture allow you to make poor decisions for you health!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Corned Beef Brisket and Cabbage (St. Patty's Day)

Well Saturday was Saint Patrick's Day and to honor the holiday I made my first Corned Beef Brisket and Cabbage meal. 

This was the meal I decided to make following our whirlwind weekend trip to Columbus, OH for a wedding.  While visiting Columbus for the first time, we decided to venture out after driving all day for some food.  We eventually ended up at Claddagh's Irish Pub (granted a chain, but not one I've ever visited).  The food was grand and the Great Lakes Brewing Company's Irish Ale even better, therefore I had to give the dish a try at home.

It was pretty simple to make.  Put the brisket in a large pot and added water until it was covered by about an inch.  Added the spice pack and brought it up to a boil.  Once boiling reduced the heat to simmer, covered.  Let the brisket simmer for about three hours.

After the three hours, remove the brisket to a cutting board and allow to sit.  Meanwhile, cut a medium head of cabbage into quarters (after removing the core).  Add the cabbage and a bag of baby carrots to the pot the brisket just came out of.  Return to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium heat and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. 

Remove and drain.  Cut the brisket and serve with Horseradish Cream Sauce.

Horseradish Cream Sauce:

1 Tbsp. Inglehoffer Extra Hot horseradish (more if desired)
2 Tbsp. Fat free sour cream
1 Tbsp.  Dijon mustard
1 tsp. black pepper

Stir and serve - Enjoy

The reason I have not been posting lately is because my mother has been ill.  She is currently doing better and back in her room at the nursing home.  She is in a total care facility since her stroke 7 years ago.

Mom and Dad in 1957

Mom and I in 2009