Tag Archives: basil

Italian Spaghetti Squash Quiche

Last night I decided I wanted to make something a little different for dinner. I hadn’t made a Quiche in a while so I thought about doing that. I also had a nice spaghetti squash sitting on my counter and wanted to use it soon. Good thing I decided on the spaghetti squash! When I cut it open a few seeds inside had sprouted! And we’re talking a good 3-4 inches! Crazy! But I also decided to make a Quiche. I combined the two. I just threw stuff together that I had in the refrigerator and voilà! A new delicious taste for dinner! (Or breakfast the next day!)
 I only used half of the squash and it was plenty. And to make it all worth while, ¼ of the Quiche is only 272 calories! Bonus!
 This recipe will make about 8 pieces We usually each have ¼ of the Quiche as a serving though. Oh and did I mention, it’s crustless!

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Ingredients:
½ of a spaghetti squash cooked and scraped out into a bowl. (Cook any way you are used to. I microwave it, cut side down in a shallow casserole with some water for about 10-15 minutes until soft)
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
3 eggs (You can use egg beaters if you want), beaten
1 cup shredded low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 chicken sausage (any kind you like is fine. I used a Casual Gourmet tomato and mozzarella one), cut into small pieces
2-3 fresh basil leaves, minced
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 head roasted garlic, chopped (I had it in the fridge, garlic powder will be good too if you want)
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
 2. Pour ingredients into a casserole dish or any type of baking dish you have. An actual Quiche pan may be too small. Spray the pan with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes when done. It will rest this way.

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Scrumptious Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-Fry

 After many requests here is the recipe! I modified this recipe from a Rocco DiSpirito recipe. The man knows good food! Before making this recipe the only way I had ever cooked asparagus, and only thin asparagus, was to roast it, whole. This recipe I ventured into unknown territory. I used much thicker asparagus and cut into bite size pieces! I also used a vegetable peeler to get off some of the thicker layers on the stalks. And you know that wonderful thing that happens to our body when you eat asparagus? I won’t say what it is but if you’ve ever eaten asparagus you know what I mean. Well apparently when you cut it up and not cook it whole that little phenomenon doesn’t occur!  It’s a win win! Plus this recipe is figure friendly. I would also recommend reading the entire recipe all the way through before cooking. Make the stir-fry sauce first also. You can even make it a few days before if you want.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin

1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut on an angle into 1″ pieces

12-16 ounces medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined. NO TAILS!!!

¾-1 cup cooked brown rice (remember brown is better for you!)

½ cup chopped fresh basil 

sesame seeds for garnish

salt and pepper

2/3 cup of Rocco’s “Rockin’ Asian Stir-Fry Sauce” (see recipe below) or you can use a store-bought sugar-free teriyaki sauce. (Make this BEFORE you start cooking the stir-fry)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the onion and asparagus and stir fry until the veggies are almost tender, about 6 minutes or so.

2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste and add to the pan. Add the rice to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often to get everything heated through.

3. Add the stir fry sauce. When the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is hot, about 2-4 minutes, stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sesame seeds for garnish.

Serves 4

Stir-Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

¼ cup chopped fresh ginger (this is key!)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

½ bunch of scallions (white and green part) chopped fine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

¾ cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, plain

½ cup reduced-sugar ketchup (Heinz is the best)

salt and pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan/skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions. Saute, stirring frequently, until very fragrant. About 2-3 minutes.

2. In the meantime, place the cornstarch in a medium bowl and add the soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar and ketchup. Whisk to blend.

3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauté pan and bring the sauce to a simmer.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper if you want.

5. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for up to a week.

This sauce is incredible. I used it on ribs also. Tasted just like chinese spare ribs! 

This makes about 1¾ cups.

Zucchini Quiche

Now before you think this is just another boring Quiche, think again! This recipe is one of the most incredibly moist, creamy and delicious Quiche recipes I’ve ever made. It was originally a Weight Watchers recipe that I changed a bit. My version came out incredible. My husband loved it and I can’t wait to make it again. The wonderful thing about it is that there is no cream, no milk, no half-and-half at all in this recipe! It is pretty low-calorie and yet tastes so decadent that you’d never believe it good for you! Well it is. A great recipe to make ahead and freeze too! The original recipe was for ‘mini Quiche’. It was supposed to make 48 little tiny Quiche type bites. Great for a brunch or breakfast. I chose not to do that and we had it for dinner. And breakfast, and lunch. You will not miss the crust. Who needs all those extra useless calories! Crust just covers up the taste and creaminess of the Quiche! The Quiche was so fluffy I was amazed. Usually when I make something like this it falls and flattens when it cools a bit. Not this recipe! 

A side note, I have also gone back to Weight Watchers for what seems like the 20th time. I had to make a change. Couldn’t go on just eating everything in sight and expecting the weight to stay off. So I am back on track. In three weeks I have already shed 5.2 lbs and I’m not stopping till I get where I want to be. It’s a good thing all around. But don’t worry, my recipes won’t all be Weight Watcher recipes or “diet” recipes. But they will be leaning toward the healthier and leaner type stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up my cocktails either, so when I find another great one, I will share! Now if I could just figure out a way to exercise while blogging…hmmm…

Ok here is the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

cooking spray

2 medium uncooked zucchini, peeled and shredded

3 shallots finely chopped (or one small onion chopped)

3-4 cloves garlic chopped

1 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese

6 large eggs

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup basil, fresh, finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

OMG So incredibly creamy and delicious!

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a glass or non-stick Quiche pan or round casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and pour into prepared dish.
  • Bake until bottom is golden brown and Quiche is cooked through. (I cooked it 30-45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes. Make sure it’s not too loose and watery.)
  • Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving. The Quiche will continue to set up.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Homemade “Boursin” Cheese

Years ago I discovered Boursin Cheese. But that little container (only 5.2 ounces!) can be very expensive. I haven’t bought it in years because of that. It would also be gone in minutes because there isn’t much to it. This recipe may not give you a huge amount either (8 ounces at least) but you can also double the recipe and use lighter ingredients as well to save some calories and fat. It’s a cream cheese base so use the light cream cheese. I will not use fat-free cream cheese because I feel that it really loses all it’s flavor when you take away ALL the fat. But that’s just me. It’s up to you and what you wish. If calories are no object then by all means use the full fat version of cream cheese in the recipe. Another great thing about this recipe is that all the herbs and spices in it are very common and I would think most of us have them all on hand in our pantries. This recipe actually comes from The Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast Inn. I had stayed there many years ago. The Inn is in Cape May, New Jersey and was a wonderful place, not far from the water. So give this a try and remember to make it the night before. It’s better that way, trust me! The spread itself is mild and is accented nicely by the crushed peppercorns. It’s a great spread with crackers during cocktail hour!

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

freshly ground black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

2. Shape into a ball or log and roll in crushed black peppercorns or place in a serving dish and sprinkle generously with coarsely crushed black peppercorns. Or just serve it in a decorative serving bowl! Your choice!

3. Best if refrigerated at least overnight before serving.

Makes 1 cup

Italian Chicken Chili Alfredo

Boy that’s a mouthful! I was trying to come up with a simple title but couldn’t. Originally when I made this I was going for a regular chili with chicken instead of ground beef. As I went along I kept changing my mind. I had also  just bought a jar of Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce and thought it would make a tasty addition. The sauce is a new product for the Classico line of sauces. It only has 60 calories and 5 grams of fat in ¼ cup. Compared to over 110 calories and 10 grams of fat for the same amount. It was really good and I didn’t feel bad about eating it!

I also added two kinds of beans to this recipe, white canellini beans and black beans. Another item I always have on hand in my freezer are those pre-cooked chicken sausages. They are really very good and lower in calories and fat. I usually have the Italian style which is what I used in this recipe. The chicken breast I used was the Perdue portion sized boneless breasts. They come in those individually wrapped packages. They were on sale and I had a coupon! I used the white wine and garlic seasoned ones but you can use any kind you want.

This was a great protein, fiber-filled meal. My husband really liked it and I can make it again so it’s a winner! Great for the fall or when you want an easy dinner. Leftovers are even better! If you want you can even add rice or pasta to the dish to stretch it even more. It’s up to you!

INGREDIENTS:

2 small onions (or 1 large), chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped (use less if you don’t like a lot of garlic)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound or so), cut into bite size pieces

2 Italian Style Chicken Sausages (precooked kind)

1 can (15-16 oz.) white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15-16 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 small-medium tomato, chopped small

½ cup mushrooms, chopped

1 jar (15 oz.) Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce

2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Parmesan Cheese for topping (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large pan heat olive oil on medium heat and sauté the chicken pieces. Remove from pan and set aside when browned and mostly cooked, about 5 minutes.

2. In the same pan add the onion and garlic and sauté, on medium heat, till soft, about 5 minutes. Careful not to burn the garlic.

3. Add the mushrooms, sausage, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for another 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

4. Add the tomatoes and stir in. Add the beans and continue to stir and cook for another 3 minutes or so until beans are heated through.

5. Add the alfredo sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add fresh parsley and serve.

Makes 6 servings

Greek Green Beans

Ok as promised here is the recipe for the green beans I made with the orange roughy yesterday. I used frozen green beans. I actually use frozen veggies quite a bit. This way I always have something in the freezer to go to when I’m out of fresh stuff. I usually have those ‘steamer’ bags of veggies but this time I had bought one of the larger bags, 16 ounces. For two of us that is too much to make at once so for this recipe I used half the bag or 2 cups. This is also a quick and easy side dish for any entrée. It is also a low-calorie side dish. While the beans were being nuked I sautéed the onions and garlic and it worked out great. So without any further ado here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups frozen green beans (any kind you like)

2 tablespoons water

1 small onion, chopped small

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons butter substitute (you can use real butter if you want)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place green beans in a small microwave container with lid. Add the water. Cook on HIGH for 6 minutes.

2. Meantime in a small pan sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Cook until soft and just starting to brown a little. About 6 minutes. Add the basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Stir well.

3. The beans should be done now. Drain the excess water from container. Add the butter/butter substitute and onion mixture. Mix well.

4. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes.

5. Stir in feta cheese and serve.

Makes 2 servings (1 cup each)

Collard Greens Gone Wild

Ok, I know, how can collard greens go wild? And I’m not talking fresh collard greens either. Frozen. Yes frozen. I never had collard greens growing up and of course just figured I didn’t like them. My husband suggested I try them so one day at the supermarket I went “wild” and bought a bag of frozen greens. Also since I had no idea how to serve them the Italian in me took over. I prepared them according to the package but when I served them I added butter and a parmesan/garlic seasoning. They came out really good. I was hooked. Then recently I tried them from a menu at a restaurant specializing in “southern/cowboy” type barbecue. I HATED them! They had no flavor, the color was so washed out they did not look very appetizing. Definitely not enough to even eat! Well I tried them. Yuck! I tried adding butter, salt, hot sauce…Still yuck! I was so disappointed! I knew I should have gotten the fried green tomatoes that night! So last night I kicked them up a notch so to say. They came out really good! The only thing is the bag of frozen greens is big that I now have lots left over. I will be using them tonight as my side for the Veal Scaloppini recipe I posted yesterday.  They actually look like escarole and beans a little bit. I originally served it with a Lemon Lime Marinated Chicken recipe from a great food blog called Dana’s Food For Thought. Check it out! (Thanks Dana!)

INGREDIENTS:

1 16-19 ounce bag frozen chopped collard greens

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic chopped

3 cloves garlic thinly sliced

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 cups chicken broth

1 -15 ounce can canellini beans, drained and rinsed

parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a dutch oven or large pot sauté olive oil and chopped garlic. Saute till garlic is lightly browned. Add the basil and oregano and stir for a minute or so.

2. Add the frozen collard greens and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the beans, red pepper flakes and sliced garlic. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Serve greens with parmesan cheese if you like.

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