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April 29, 2007

Curried Chicken Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes

1 1/2 cups plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 celery stalks, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together yogurt, curry powder, and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Stir in chicken, celery, onion, and cilantro; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving for more concentrated flavor.

Makes 4 1-cup servings. Per serving: 240 calories, 2.5 total fat (0.5 g sat), 11 g carbohydrate, 44 g protein, 1 g fiber, 270 mg sodium

April 20, 2007

Shrimp Scampi

shrimp-scampi.jpgTotal Time: 15 min

1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
3/4 lb uncooked deveined peeled medium shrimp, thawed if frozen, tail shells removed
1 medium green onion, thinly sliced (1 Tbsp)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley or 3/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add shrimp and remaining ingredients except cheese. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until shrimp are pink. (Do not overcook shrimp or they will become tough.) Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: Calories 180; Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 1 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 240mg; Sodium 430mg; Total Carbohydrate 1g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 0g); Protein 26g

April 17, 2007

Slim Mints

Chocolate Wafers:
8 ounces butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Chocolate Peppermint Coating:
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon natural peppermint extract

Preheat your oven to 350. Place the rack in the middle.

In a mixer cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and cream some more, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple times if necessary. Stir in the vanilla extract and then the salt and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter is smooth and creamy, sort of like a thick frosting. Add the whole wheat pastry flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking, it might still be a bit crumbly, and that's o.k.

Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and kneed it a couple of times to bring it together into one nice, smooth mass. Place the ball of dough into a large plastic bag and flatten it into a disk roughly 3/4-inch thick. Place the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.

Remove the dough from the freezer and roll it out really thin, about 1/8-inch. You can either roll it out between two sheets of plastic, or dust your counter and rolling pin with a bit of flour and do it that way. Stamp out cookies using a 1 1/2-inch cutter. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a baking rack if you've got one.

Use a double boiler over low heat. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until it is glossy and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract, adding a few more drops if desired.

Coat the cookies one at a time and then gently set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet to set. Drop one cookie into the chocolate and (using a fork) carefully make sure it gets fully coated. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan to drain any extra chocolate off the cookie. You are after a thin, even coating of chocolate. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set.

Make 3 or 4 dozen cookies.

April 16, 2007

S'mores Cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 lb. (2 cups) confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. tub of marshmallow cream (I recommend Fluff)
graham cracker crumbs
Hershey's chocolate bar

Cream the butter on high until it's light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until fluffy each time. Beat in the vanilla until incorporated. Then dump in the Fluff and mix it up until it's all creamy. Transfer to pastry bag or ziplock bag and pipe onto chocolate cupcakes!

Dust the top with graham cracker crumbs. Place a square from a Hershey's bar on top.

April 15, 2007

Raspberry or Strawberry Creme Cupcakes

1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
3 large eggs whites
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 (6-oz containers fresh raspberries, or
1 (16-oz) container fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting

Line 18 muffin cups with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack.

Using a fork, coarsely mash the containers of raspberries (or strawberries) in a medium bowl. Beat the cream and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold the mashed raspberries (or strawberries) into the whipped cream.

Remove the muffin papers from the cupcakes and cut the tops off of each cupcake. Spoon the raspberry whipped cream atop the cupcake bottoms. Place the cupcake tops on the cupcakes. Dust with more powdered sugar and top with more berries.

Makes 18. Serve at once.

April 9, 2007

Egg Salad With Asparagus and Parmesan

1/4 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces (3 to 5 spears)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup scallions, chopped fine
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
4 large hard-cooked eggs
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Boil 3 cups salted water. Immerse the asparagus for 2 to 4 minutes or until bright green and crisp-tender. Rinse immediately under cold water. Pat dry and toss with olive oil, lemon zest, scallions, and 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Cut eggs in half, and sprinkle each with a bit of cayenne pepper. Serve each egg alongside the asparagus mixture.

Serves 2. Per Serving: 349 calories, 25 g total fat (8 g saturated), 443 mg cholesterol, 4 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 26 g protein, 32 mg sodium

Creamy Ham and Fettuccine

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

1 pkg (9 oz) refrigerated fettuccine
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 medium green onions, sliced (2 Tbsp)
6 oz thinly sliced cooked ham, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup frozen sweet peas
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup ranch dressing
2 Tbsp milk

Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package.

In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; cook 1 minute. Add ham and peas; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in yogurt, dressing and milk. Add fettuccine; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until hot.

Makes 4 servings. Per Serving: Calories 380 (Calories from Fat 140); Total Fat 15g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 30mg; Sodium 790mg; Total Carbohydrate 42g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 5g); Protein 19g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 4%; Calcium 6%; Iron 15% Exchanges: 2 1/2 Starch; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 3

Skillet Ham and Vegetables au Gratin

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 45 min

1 Tbsp margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups cut-up fully cooked ham
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 pkg (4.9 oz) au gratin potatoes
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/4 tsp pepper
4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 box (9 oz) frozen cut broccoli, thawed and drained

Melt margarine in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook ham and onion in margarine, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in Potatoes, Sauce Mix, hot water and pepper.

Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in carrots. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.

Stir in cheese and broccoli. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and broccoli is hot.

Makes 6 servings. Per Serving: Calories 270 (Calories from Fat 110); Total Fat 12g (Saturated Fat 5g, Trans Fat 1g); Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 1180mg; Total Carbohydrate 26g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 6g); Protein 16g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 150%; Vitamin C 15%; Calcium 15%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 1 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Very Lean Meat; 2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 2

Dijon Ham and Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 5 min
Total: 20 min

1 pkg classic pasta salad mix
3 Tbsp cold water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and cut into fourths

Cook and drain pasta mix as directed on package. Rinse with cold water until chilled; drain.

In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix (from salad mix), water, oil and mustard. Stir in pasta, ham and artichokes. Toss with topping (from salad mix). Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours before serving.

Makes 4 servings. Per Serving: Calories 360 (Calories from Fat 110); Total Fat 12g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 1820mg; Total Carbohydrate 47g (Dietary Fiber 6g, Sugars 6g); Protein 17g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 15%; Calcium 8%; Iron 20% Exchanges: 3 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 Very Lean Meat; 2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 3