Healthy Crab Cake Recipe

IMG_4662I’m trying to drop a few pounds after completing losing my mind and eating everything in site indulging a bit in Boston last week, so I’m trying to up my protein intake.

Partner that with my love of seafood and exposure to the most delicious array of crab dishes in Boston and I just knew I had to whip up some healthy crab cakes.

Crab cakes aren’t inherently healthy. Typical crab cakes are filled with mayonnaise, butter and bread and are fried in oil. I lightened mine up with minimal effort and I think they are even more delish than their oil-laden cousin.

Give them a try and let me know what you think. They whip up in minutes and are simply delish.

 

 

 

 

Recipe

  • 1 ½ Tbsp. fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat panko (in crab cake)
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat
  • ½ cup whole-wheat panko (for coating)

 

Preparation

 

1. To prepare crab cakes, add all ingredients, except for ½ cup whole-wheat panko. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

 

2. Remove from fridge and form into patties. Pour whole-wheat panko on paper plate and lightly coat crab cake in panko on both sides.

 

3. Place on baking sheet in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 10 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 8 minutes.

Kale, White Bean, Apple Sausage and Zucchini Ragout Recipe

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Looking for a way to eat your greens that not only pleases your palate, but satisfies even the pickiest of eaters? Look no further than this delish ragout that is chock full of healthy vegetables, tasty sausage and creamy fiber-filled beans.

I recently signed up for Backyard Produce, which is a weekly service that delivers fresh, local, organic produce straight to your door. You can either customize your basket by selecting each food your receive or select the variety basket which is full of that week’s best selections.

This week I chose kale, tomatoes, zucchini because I’m trying to eat more organic produce. When I came home and saw my box of fresh veggies on my porch, I was as excited as if it was my birthday! But then I quickly began racking my brain at how I could use up this produce in a way that was tasty and would lure my kids into eating it too.

Imagine my elation when I saw this recipe on Cooking Light for a Kale, white bean, zucchini, tomato and apple sausage ragout. It was chock-full of veggies and I had every ingredient in my pantry – score!

It was super simple to make and the flavors married beautifully. I was concerned because my past experiences with kale haven’t been great. Aside from kale chips, I don’t really like the flavor of kale. It is a bit too tough for a salad, too bitter to eat raw and doesn’t blend well in pasta or casseroles.

But kale is truly a super food and definitely worth giving another try. Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and has 0 grams of fat. It is high in iron, vitamin K, A, C and calcium. It’s also brimming with antioxidants. I tweaked the Cooking Light recipe a bit to meet my needs, such as using minced garlic instead of whole, eliminating the olive oil and onion and adding fresh tomato instead of canned.

Kale, White Bean, Apple Sausage and Zucchini Ragout

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (4-ounce) links chicken sausage, cut into (1/2-inch) slices – I used Thin n Trim Apple Cinnamon Sausage
  • 1 zucchini, quartered and cut into (1/2-inch) slices (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 6 cups chopped trimmed kale (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Brown sausage in a large saute pan and add garlic. Add zucchini and kale; cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans and water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Dessert for Dinner? April Fool’s!

DSC_0211Looking for a fun, healthy way to trick your kids on April Fool’s Day? Look no further than these “cupcakes” you can serve for dinner! Fool your kids not only by serving “dessert” for dinner, but hide veggies inside this delicious meat loaf for a trick that’s a real treat!

 

I’m typically not a fan of hiding veggies in my kids food because I want them to grow to love the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, but I make an excpetion with meatloaf. Meatloaf is the perfect dish to enhance the nutrition, taste and moistness by adding pureed carrots, grated zucchini and wheat germ.

This is the best meatloaf you’ve ever sink your teeth into. The grated zucchini adds moisture without added fat and the wheat germ is a perfectsubstitute for breadcrumbs, which typically contain enriched wheat flour and salt.

April Fool’s Day Meatloaf Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Extra Lean Beef
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 cup carrots, cooked and pureed
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup (available at Earth Fare)
  • 2 Tbsp Worchestire Sauce
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350

Put ground beef in a big bowl. Add grated zucchini, pureed carrots, ketchup, worchestire, garlic and egg in the bowl and mix with your hands. Add wheat germ, whole-wheat panko, garlic, salt and pepper, mix until combined being careful not to overmix. Use an ice cream scoop to help you fill the meat into a muffin tin. Each cupcake tin should hold 1/2 cup of meat mixture. Top each meatloaf with a spoonful of ketchup on top. Bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the mashed potatoes:

Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

1/2 cup skim milk

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

salt and pepper

 

India Tree Natuaral Decorating Colors

 

Boil potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash by hand with milk using a potato masher (don’t use a food processor or they get too gluey.) Add Greek yogurt and stir gently. Add the all-natural food decorating color. India Tree makes a great all natural food decorating set that doesn’t contain any harmful dyes. Check out this great article on the safety of food coloring for children for more information on all-natural food coloring.

Dollop the mashed potatoes onto of the meatloaf cupcake and swirl to make it look like a cupcake. I even added an edible “My Love” heart, which I got from Williams-Sonoma.

My daughter took a big bite of the faux cupcake and then got a big smile on her face when she saw it was ac

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tually meatloaf. She loved it and had no idea it was actually filled with veggies. Double April Fools!

Do you do anything fun for April Fools Day? Do you hide veggies in your kids food?

The Secret for Making a Healthy Taco Salad

Did you know that at the typical Mexican restaurant the most dangerous item on the menu is the taco salad? In fact, the Qdoba Mexican Grill’s Beef Taco Salad has 1,280 calories! You can eat almost 9 of Taco Bell’s Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Tacos for the same calories!

A taco salad has the potential to be healthy, but many restaurants squander that opportunity by using fattening beef, full-fat sour cream and large amounts of cheddar cheese.

For this edition of “Weight Loss Wednesday,” I’m going to show the secret for making a  healthy taco salad and home for a fraction of the fat and calories that the fast food version contains.

I made my own taco salad at home for a light version that is just as delicious as healthy. Here are a few secret tips for transforming this fattening dish.

“Moo”ve over beef

I used lean ground turkey breast instead of ground beef, which boosts the protein of this dish without adding excess fat. Three ounce of lean turkey breast contains only 88 calories, 1.4 grams of fat and no saturated fat, while the same portion of 80 percent lean ground beef has 231 calories, 14.8 grams of fat and 5.6 grams of saturated fat.

Think outside the shell

For the “shell” I simply used a “Mission Carb Balance Small/Fajita Whole Wheat Tortilla,” which is loaded with fiber and low in calories. Form the “bowl” shape by spraying a glass bowl with nonfat cooking spray and placing the tortilla in the bowl. Cook at 350 for 10 minutes to make crunchy.

Got cheese? 

I omitted the cheese completely. One cup of cheese (which can easily be the amount that some local fast food chains lob onto your meal) has 455 calories, 37 grams of fat and 24 grams of saturated fat. If you must have cheese, use the 2 percent milk variety, which still melts well and has a great flavor, but reduces some of the calories and fat. Don’t bother using the fat-free cheese. The taste and texture is horrible and it’s not worth the reduced calories.

Load up on Veggies

I added pepper strips, salsa and lettuce to load up on vegetables and volume, without adding a lot of calories.

Go Greek!

My biggest secret to slashing the calories, but keeping the flavor of this delicious dish is substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Greek yogurt is filled with calcium and beneficial live bacterial cultures and packs a lot of protein for very little calories. Just a few small changes makes a huge difference in the calories and enhances the taste.

Try my recipe for healthy taco salad and check out my book, Culinary Duct Tape: Greek yogurt: Just as versatile, not as tacky, for more dishes made light and delicious with Greek yogurt!

Stacy’s Healthy Taco Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 Mission Carb Balance Small/Fajita Whole Wheat Tortilla
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red, yellow and orange pepper strips
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans
  • 1 jar Pace Picante Sauce
  • 1 small bag of lettuce shreds
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high  heat and sauté garlic until brown. Add peppers and sauté until cooked through.
  2. Add ground turkey and brown until no longer pink.
  3. Add black beans, ½ jar picante sauce and ¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt. Stir until combined and heat through.
  4. Meanwhile, spray four glass bowls with nonfat cooking spray. Place one whole-wheat tortialla in each bowl and cook at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  5. Scoop turkey mixture into cooled shell. Top with a generous handful of lettuce shreds, picante sauce and the remaining Greek yogurt.

 

Simple, easy, healthy and delish! Give it a try and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if you try any of the other recipes from my book,  Culinary Duct Tape: Greek yogurt: Just as versatile, not as tacky.

Easy, Healthy Meals from Pantry Staples

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,

To give the poor dog a bone:

When she came there,

The cupboard was bare,

And so the poor dog had none.

 

Old Mother Hubbard couldn’t find a bone for her dog, but what do you do when your cupboard’s are bare and you need to get dinner on the table for your family?

This week has been extremely busy for me, as I’ve been working on an aggressive timeline for a manuscript submission, work has been filled with meetings and important deliverables, I’m planning the birthday party for my kids this weekend and both my kids will be in a wedding next weekend. Ack!! All of this translates to me not having an extra moment to go to the grocery store. As you can see from the picture, my cabinets are truly bare, which makes dinnertime a bit challenging.

I have a few tips for throwing together dinner when you are down to the bare nubbins in your pantry:

  1. Free choice night – My kids love it when I tell them that dinner is “free choice.” Everyone gets to choose their own dinner, which is either leftovers, peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese. It not only makes life easier because I don’t have to cook, but it helps clean out the leftovers from the fridge.
  2. Breakfast for dinner – I love breakfast! It is my favorite meal of the day and I love making breakfast for dinner. Even if my pantry is bare, I usually have the ingredients to throw together pancakes and eggs. We pull out the big griddle and make Mickey Mouse pancakes with frozen fruit thrown in for added nutrition.
  3. Vegetarian Night – A dinner of rice and beans, vegetarian chili or spaghetti with tomato sauce can be filling and nutritious without meat. Try having Meatless Monday each week to get into the routine of a fiber filled dinner without meat.
  4. Staple Dinner – There are certain staples that I try to keep in the house, like flour, eggs, milk, bread, broth and canned veggies. Even if I can’t make a full grocery run, I’ll pick up a few items to get me through a couple nights of dinner. I love to make soup with the leftover wilted veggies in my vegetable drawer, along with a few pantry staples. You can even make a fresh loaf of bread to go with it with only a few ingredients.

 

Try this recipe below for a simple soup and bread dinner.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 4-oz. whole-wheat egg noodles
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast or 2 cans canned chicken breast (keep canned chicken in your pantry as a staple)

 

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a dutch oven. Add carrots, celery and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Add noodles and chicken, simmer for 8-10 minutes.

 

  Easy Staple Bread Recipe

  • ¼ cup nonfat milk
  • 5 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp butter
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3 cups flour (mixture of whole-wheat and white)

 

  1. Mix the yeast with water, per instructions on the packet.
  2. Melt butter in the microwave and add it, milk, sugar and salt to the yeast and stir it. Add two cups of flour to the mix. Stir, adding ¼ cup of flour every minute or so. Keep stirring until sticky and dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
  3. Knead for ten minutes, then shape into a ball, place in a bowl coated with nonstick cooking spray and cover with a cloth. Let sit in a warm, draft-free place for an hour.
  4. The dough will now be double in size, punch down and lay out on floured surface. Roll up and place in a bread pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for another hour.
  5. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Let it cool completely before slicing.
Do you have any go-to recipes for when your pantry is bare? Any tips for feeding a family on pantry staples? I’d love to hear from you!

Make your own Mango BBQ Sauce

Last week I blogged about the top sneaky sugar foods. Topping that list was my favorite barbecue sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s. I was quite shocked to learn that it not only has 15 grams of sugar per serving, but also has five different types of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup (which is the first ingredient.)

If I’m going to eat sugar, I want a brownie or ice cream…not barbecue sauce! I tossed my store-bought barecue sauce in the trash and set out to make my own. I had never made my own barbeque sauce before and honestly, I was a little intimidated, but I found a healthy, clean and easy recipe in the May 2011 edition of Oxygen magazine for Mango Barbecue Sauce.

It was simple to whip up this barbecue sauce and my entire family loves it. I have already used it as a dipping sauce for homemade chicken nuggets, marinade and sauté. This versatile sauce is low in calories and sugar  – only 20 calories and 3 grams of sugar per serving vs. 70 calories and 15 grams of sugar for the commercially made stuff!

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think:

Mango BBQ Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
1Cup Water
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 Cup maple syrup
1/2 Cup molasses
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1) Heat olive oil in a skillet on med/high heat

2) Add onions, garlic and mango. Saute until soft, about 3 min

3) Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. bring to a boil on med/high heat. reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 30min.

4) Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least one hour.

5) Use a hand blender to puree to liquify ingredients

6. Use a funnel to transfer the barbeque sauce from the pan to sterilized mason jars.

Serving size: 2 Tbsp.: Calories: 20, Sodium: 45mg, Total Carbs: 5g, Sugars: 3g