Sunday, January 30, 2011


12 servings

3 ripe avocados
3 tablespoons finely minced sweet onion
fresh or pickled jalapeno to taste, finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley
juice of 1 lime

Remove flesh from avocados and either mash with a fork or puree in food processor with all other ingredients. It's up to you how lumpy or smooth you like it. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Tip: Sometimes I like to add diced tomatoes when I make lumpy guacamole.

- guacamole -

Pico de Gallo

12 servings

3 plum tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup diced sweet onion
fresh or pickled jalapeno to taste, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley
juice of 1/2 a lime
salt and pepper

Mix the ingredients together and let sit in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour befor serving.

- pico de gallo -

Chicken Tortillas

12 servings

12 whole wheat tortillas
1 onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
4 chicken breast halves, cut into chunks or slices
2-4 tablespoons purchased mexican spice mix
1 cup shredded cheese of choice
1 recipe guacamole
1 recipe Pico de Gallo
Sour cream
choopped green onions for garnish

In a large nonstick pan, sautee onions, peppers and mushrooms on medium high heat until tender. Stir in chicken pieces and continue to cook until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in spice mix.

Divide the chicken mixture between the tortillas and top with grated cheese. Roll the tortillas and place tortillas in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle on more cheese and bake on 425F until cheese on top is golden. Top with chopped green onions and serve with guacamole, Pico de Gallo and sour cream.

Tip: I used sharp cheddar inside the tortillas and topped them with mozzarella. I sometimes add a few tablespoons of sour cream to the chicken mixture at the same time I add the spice mix. Just let it cook for a few minutes and you'll have a creamier filling.

- chicken tortillas -

Tomato and Feta Wrap

1 serving

1 whole wheat tortilla (or 1 whole wheat pita)
1oz feta cheese, sliced or crumbled
1/2 a medium tomato, sliced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper

Place tomato and feta slices in the centre of your tortilla or pita. Drizzle olive oil on top followed by spices. Wrap it up and eat it.

Tip: You can add other things to this if you like. Try chopped olives or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
- tomato and feta wrap -

Mom's Meatballs

This is how my mom makes them.

about 32 meatballs

1 1/2lb lean ground beef
3-4 tablespoons Maggi liquid seasoning
1 slice bread soaked in warm water and squeezed

Mix all ingredients by hand until well combined. Form into balls. Fry on medium heat in a dry pan until cooked through. Remove from pan and place on paper towel before serving or freezing.

Tip: You can freeze these. Kids love meatballs so if they're giving you a hard time with dinner, meatballs will save the day.

- mom's meatballs -

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foul (Ful) Moudamas { egyptian fava bean breakfast - south beach diet friendly }

Foul moudamas, ful mudammas, foul mudammas, fool medames ... However you choose to spell it, it means the same thing. This is an Egyptian and Middle Eastern breakfast fava bean recipe that is simple and delicious. I've seen other versions on the web but this is the way my mom makes it. Since legumes are allowed in phase one of both The South Beach Diet and Atkins, this is a great choice for breakfast if you're tired of eating eggs.

4 servings

1 9oz can brown fava beans (or fava / chickpea mix) with liquid
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon olive oil

Place the can of beans (including liquid) into a pot. Bring it up to a simmer then add the garlic. Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pita bread.

Tip: You can soak and cook your own beans if you want but canned ones are very tasty. My mom serves it with a plate of fresh cucumber slices, tomato slices, radishes and some fresh herbs. I've tried making it with black beans and it tastes good, but it's not the same.

- foul (ful) moudamas -

Pizza Your Way

Actually it's pizza my way with what I had in the fridge the other day. Use whatever you have on hand to top your pizza.

12 slices

1 recipe pizza dough
1 recipe pizza sauce
1 cup grated mozzarella
2 oz leftover cooked chicken breast, diced
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
4 chopped sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
1/2 cup diced button mushrooms
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll out the dough to fit your large pizza pan. In my case I used a square baking sheet. My pizza looked more rustic. Spread half the sauce recipe over the dough. Sprinkle half the cheese over the sauce then add your toppings. Sprinkle the other have of the cheese over the toppings followed by the parmesan and oregano. Brush the edges of the pizza dough with olive oil then bake for 25 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Let it rest for a few minutes before cutting.

Tip: You can make a white pizza if you don't use the sauce. Instead, mix some minced garlic with olive oil and brush over the rolled dough. My favourite toppings on a white pizza would be simply mozzarella, green olives and sliced tomatoes. When it comes to topping pizza, the possibilities are endless!

- pizza your way -

Pizza Sauce

What's a pizza without sauce? 

Makes enough for 2 large pizzas (or 1 pizza with extra sauce for dipping).

V Leave out the cheese to make it vegan.

3/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (omit this if you're vegan)
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons sugar (any kind)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together and let stand for 1/2 hour before using so all the flavours can get to know each other.

Tip: Adjust the spices as you like them. You could leave out the Italian seasoning and just use oregano and basil if you prefer.

- pizza sauce -

Pizza Dough

1 large pizza or 1 extra large thin crust pizza

3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast (or 1 packet)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup warm water

Mix dry ingredients then make a well in the centre. Add oil and water then use your hands to mix it until it forms a ball. There shouldn't be any crumbs left in the bowl. Rub with a little oil and cover with plastic wrap. Rising is not necessary but you might as well let it rise about 1/2 hour before rolling since you'll most likely be chopping toppings for your pizza in the meantime. This dough will bake at 375F for about 25 minutes.

Tip: Mix in some chopped olives or sundried tomatoes before resting, then roll it to about 1/2" thick. Bake it like that for something different. You could also add some rosemary, parmesan cheese or whatever else you can think of. I found this dough to be slightly dense so I'd recommend rolling it out thin.

Original Recipe:

- pizza dough -

Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce

You can sweeten this with honey or sugar if you want, but I like it just the way it is.

6 servings

3 medium pears
1 cup Tropicana (or other) orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 Cinnamon stick
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen raspberries
6 tbsp Cool Whip (regular)

Peel the pears, then cut them in half and remove the core with a melon baller. Remove the stem with a knife.

In a nonstick pot, combine the juice, water, cinnamon stick and vanilla and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the pears and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until pears are tender (stick a knife in them). Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.

Add the frozen raspberries to the pot and continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a syrup. Add the pears back just to coat then transfer to serving plates. Top each pear with 1 tablespoon sauce and a dollop of Cool Whip.

Tip: You can strain the sauce if you want to get fancy but it's not necessary if you don't mind the raspberry seeds. If you want to get even fancier, remove the skin and poach the pears whole with the stem on. They'll look really pretty on the plate.

- poached pears with raspberry sauce -

Oven Fried Chicken Drumsticks

8 servings

1 recipe shake and bake
8 chicken drumsticks (with or without skin)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place the shake and bake into a baggie. One by one, put a piece of chicken in the bag. Twist the top and shake being sure to coat the whole piece of chicken. Place chicken pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 50-60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Discard any leftover breadcrumb mixture.

Tip: You could probably use different parts of the chicken. There should be enough breadcrumbs for 8 pieces. The skin makes it even more delicious but if you're counting calories, be sure to remove it before coating the chicken.

- oven fried chicken drumsticks -

Shake and Bake

This is a clever way to use stale pita (or other breads) instead of throwing them away.

about 1 cup

1 large whole wheat pita, stale, torn up
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
salt and pepper

In a food processor, pulse bread with spices until it's as course or fine as you like it. Store in a container or zipper bag in the freezer.
Tip: You can use any spices you like. Use this mixture to coat chicken or pork.

- shake and bake -

Oriental Shirataki Noodle Soup

I made this soup using Shirataki noodles just to cut calories, but you could use any noodle you like. Udon is a tasty choice, just cook according to package directions before adding to the soup. Use about 1 cup of noodles per bowl of soup.

1 serving

1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp diced onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
3 baby carrots cut into matchsticks
1 tbsp thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup snowpeas sliced on diagonal
3 medium mushrooms thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (or Dole cole slaw mix)
Shirataki 0 calorie noodles (half or whole pack)
1 tsp Maggi liquid seasoning (or soy sauce)
pinch of black pepper
2oz cooked chicken breast, sliced
Garnish of chopped green onions or cilantro (optional)

Sautee the onions in the oil for about 2 minutes then add garlic and ginger. Sautee for another minute. Add broth, carrots, celery, snowpeas and mushrooms and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add shirataki noodles, maggi, chicken and pepper and simmer for another minute or two until noodles and chicken are heated through. Veg should still be a bit crunchy when the soup is done. Sprinkle with green onions if desired.
Only 197.6 calories for the whole bowl as per calculation.

Tip: You can really add all kinds of veggies to this soup. How about some broccoli or peas? How about some beansprouts?! Miracle Noodles are calorie, gluten, soy and practically carb free. I've tried them with Italian sauces and because of the translucent apperance the dishes just aren't appetizing to look at making them hard to eat. Also, the noodles are a little chewy. I'd recommend using Shirataki noodles in asian dishes. Like tofu, they're flavourless so they absorb whatever sauce you mix them with. And they also come made with tofu by the way. My local low carb store carries other brands of this type of noodle too. Check your area for a store or order online.

Here's what the noodle packages look like. I haven't tried the Pasta Slim yet. They do contain about 25 calories per bag where the Miracle Noodle brand has 0 but 25 compared to regular pasta is a HUGE calorie savings when you're counting.

Here's the soup with extra mushrooms and some peas in it.

- oriental shirataki noodle soup -

Saturday, January 22, 2011


6 servings

3 tomatoes, seeded & diced
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 clove garlic finely diced (or to taste)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt & pepper
12 slices baguette (sliced on diagonal)
olive oil

Mix everything together and set in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Serve over slices of baguette that's been toasted brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven.

Tips: If you have time, grate some fresh parmesan or mozzarella cheese on top and broil for a few minutes before serving. Vegan without the cheese. 

- bruschetta -

Huevos Rancheros - Mexican Rancher's Eggs { with black beans, salsa and cheddar on a tortilla }

Huevos Rancheros is a popular Mexican breakfast. It means Rancher's Eggs and it's yummy!

1 serving

1 8" whole wheat tortilla
1 large egg
salt & pepper
pinch of oregano
3 tablespoons store bought salsa
2 tablespoons canned black beans, rinsed & drained
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle powder or to taste
1/2 oz shredded sharp cheddar or monterey jack

Preheat oven to 425F

Fry egg in a little cooking spray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. I like my yolk runny but not the whites. Cook it slightly less done than you want it in the end.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment, place the tortilla and then put the egg on top. Mix salsa, beans and chipotle powder in a bowl then place around the egg. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with chopped avocado.

Tips: You could probably use cayenne instead of chipotle powder, or add some canned chopped chipotles. If you don't have any of these things you could always mix in a little hot sauce. Chipotle is the flavour you get in barbecue chips. It's smokey with a bit of bite, but not as hot as cayenne in my opinion. And of course you can choose mild, medium or hot salsa. If you have it, you should add some avocado! Be sure to use a whole wheat or whole grain tortilla to make it phase 2 South Beach Diet friendly.

- huevos rancheros -

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meatballs 2

Emelia really loves Meatballs. We always have some in the freezer for Emergencies.

Approximately 24 meatballs

1lb Lean Ground Beef
1/2 medium onion, grated
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg
4 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together except for meat. Once all other ingredients are mixed, then mix in the meat just until combined. Bake in a preheated 350F oven about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Tip: Good for freezing.

- meatballs 2 -