Mar 162012

Low Fat Tofu Spinach Lasagna

This is  a vegetarian lasagna with the secret ingredient being, yes, tofu! No one ever knew unless I told them and they always raved about it and went for seconds. I made this for the fishing trips to Ennis Montana. There’s nothing like a hot, delicious dish to pop in the oven after a long day of fishing on the Madison River.

Two boxes of lasagna noodles, uncooked (opprox. 16)

Filling: 1 lb. firm tofu, crumbled & baked

1 lb. dry curds

1-1/2 cups lowfat mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 lb. fresh spinach

1 Tablespoon each of basil, oregano, and parsley

6 cups Marinara sauce (3 jars)

Start by draining and crumbling the tofu onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix dry curds, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, cooled tofu and seasonings. Spray a large, deep baking pan with vegetable spray. Start with a layer of uncooked noodles, then a layer of marinara sauce.  Proceed with a layer of the tofu/cheese combo and a layer of spinach. Repeat the layering process twice, ending with the tofu/cheese layer. Spray a piece of tin foil with vegetable spray and cover to bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove tin cover and bake for 10 more minutes. I like to crisp the top by broiling for 5 minutes at the very end. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with garlic bread, a nice Ceasar salad and a glass of your favorite red or white wine.

Saint Patrick’s Day Cookies

 Baked Goods, Cookies  Comments Off on Saint Patrick’s Day Cookies
Mar 152012


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Cookies

This sugar cookie recipe is delicious and I use the same recipe for all my holiday’s and fun to share at parties. To get a soft cookie, make sure you remove them right when the timer goes off.

3-3/4 Cups sifted flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well in between. Slowly add the flour mixture until it is just blended. Remove cookie dough from bowl and kneed in remaining flour mixture until dough is soft yet firm.  Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread flour onto counter surface and rolling pin. Roll out 1/4 of dough to approximate 1/8 inch thick. Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out as many as you can with what you roll out. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 2″ apart, (shiny baking sheets instead of dark surfaced are recommended because the dark absorbs heat more quickly and will burn the bottom of your cookies faster). You can brush each cookie with milk and lightly sprinkle green sugar before baking or follow the instructions below after they have cooled.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. Ovens will vary, so check in at 8 minutes. If the bottom is looking golden brown, they’re done.

Sugar Topping: Crack open one egg and divide the egg white from the yolk, discard the yolk. Sift 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and mix well with a fork. With a medium size paintbrush, paint the cookie with this sticky mixture and spoon on your green sugar and other desired sprinkles. Let them dry and store in a sealed Tupperware container to keep them fresh and soft.

Cinco De Mayo 7-Layer Party Dip

 Appetizers, Dips, Mexican  Comments Off on Cinco De Mayo 7-Layer Party Dip
Mar 132012

This party dip is a favorite one that disappears fast! Make this in a clear casserole dish to show off the layers of this dip. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy a fresh margarita on the deck with your friends for Cinco De Mayo!

1 – 40.5 oz. can of vegetarian refried beans

2 cups guacamole dip

1 cup sour cream

1 cup of your favorite salsa

2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 – 15 oz. can sliced black olives, drained

1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes

1 cup diced red onion

1 cup jalapenos, whole or diced, (optional)

In a round casserole dish, start by spreading the refried beans as the first layer. Add the remaining ingredients as listed above. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with your favorite corn tortilla chips and scoop fritos while enjoying with a refreshing margarita!

Chicken Enchiladas

 Mexican  Comments Off on Chicken Enchiladas
Mar 132012

This is a favorite dish and will please everyone at the dinner table. It’s full of tasty vegetables and shredded chicken.  If you prefer a vegetarian dish eliminate the chicken. If you prefer pork or shredded beef over chicken, by all means, substitute with your favorite choice. The choice to use green chili enchilada sauce or red enchilada sauce is up to your taste.

2 Large chicken breasts (cooked & shredded)

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup shredded carrots

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 – 4 oz. can of diced green chilies

1 Tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

12 Flour tortillas (warmed)

1 – 15 oz. can black beans

2 – 15 oz. can of green chili enchilada sauce

4 cups of Mexican blended shredded cheese

Garnish:  Sliced head lettuce, jalapenos, diced onion and diced tomatoes.

Start by cooking the brown rice in a saucepan and set aside. Slice thawed chicken into stripes for fast cooking in a large skillet. Cool and shred into small  pieces and set aside. Next, saute onions and carrots in olive oil for one minute.  Stir in rice, green chilies, and all your seasonings and blend well. Turn off heat and add cooked chicken to the mixture and set aside. In a shallow casserole dish, pour 1/2 the can of green chili enchilada sauce. To make each enchilada spoon a tablespoon of enchilada sauce on tortilla, add a large spoonful of the chicken and rice mixture, a spoonful of black beans and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Tuck sides in and roll up tortilla. Place rolled enchiladas side by side, (seam down) in casserole dish.  Smother the enchiladas with the remaining green chili sauce and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, make a dish with the four garnishes separately for the table.  See my recipes for fresh homemade salsa and guacamole dip and 7-Layer party dip to complement this meal. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fries

 Appetizers  Comments Off on Sweet Potato Fries
Mar 082012

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes make for a different twist as appetizers with a little ranch dressing on the side or with a nice juicy hamburger.  I use olive oil cooking spray and bake them in the oven instead of deep frying for a healthier treat.  Spike is a wonderful seasoning and good for so many recipes.

4 Medium sweet potatos

Olive oil cooking spray

Spike seasoning

Salt & Pepper

Slice sweet potato into thin strips.  Spray cookie sheet and potatoes on the with cooking spray and sprinkle with spike seasoning.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn fries over and cook for another 15 minutes.

Know The Facts About Protein

 Nutritional Information  Comments Off on Know The Facts About Protein
Mar 072012


There are 3 ways to take in calories and they are called macro-nutrients, also know as Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats and they all serve a different purpose and we need all three at each meal to create a healthy, balanced diet.

Most people are familiar with the protein from animal sources; however, if you choose a vegetarian diet, you’ll have to seek out other creative ways of getting in your protein, see the end of this article for suggestions.

Animal protein breaks down into amino acid building blocks that help repair body cells. It is an essential part of our diet by building and repairing our entire bodies starting with our bones, skin, blood cells, nails and hair, not to mention enzymes, muscles, hormones, and the brain.

When we don’t take in sufficient amount of proteins it can weaken the immune system as well as loosing valuable muscle and bone mass, which causes the body to “cannibalize” itself in an effort to have the raw materials it needs to create new enzymes and maintain its immunity.  An average person taking in 3 to 6 ounces of protein per meal is sufficient, (about the size of the your palm). Eating protein gives us energy and helps us stay slim. Protein also causes the body to release an important fat burning hormone called “glucagon” that allows the body to use stored energy, fat instead of muscle.

Good sources of protein are fish, chicken, turkey and lean meat like buffalo, eggs, nuts and cheese.

Vegetarians can get their protein from soy products, tufo, tempeh, miso, nuts & legumes, to name a few.

Please see my posts on Fats and Carbohydrates in the nutritional information category. Here’s to your health!


Know The Facts About Fat

 Nutritional Information  Comments Off on Know The Facts About Fat
Mar 072012

Fats: Fat adds flavor and texture to our foods.  However; not all fats are created equal. We have all been told there are “good” fats and “bad” fats, but how do you know the difference? The truth is, we need fat to burn fat and the only way to do this is to take in fat from the foods we eat. They come from both animal and plant sources, and there are three different types.

  1.  Saturated Fats:  These are always solid at room temperature
  2. 2.  Polyunsaturated: These always remain liquid at room temperature and in the freezer.
  3.  Monounsaturated Fats: These remain liquid at room temperature and become solid when refrigerated or frozen.

The intake of fats provides our body with “Essential Fatty Acids” which provide for a healthy immune system while supplying us with energy, balanced hormones, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and controlling our hunger.

There are medical studies to show the benefits of eating greater amounts of the monounsaturated fats that come from things like olive oil, macadamia nuts, and avocados.

And there are studies that show that processed oils like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, (margarine & shortening) are detrimental to our health because they lack the enzyme necessary to break down and metabolize in the body. See my post “The Difference Between Butter and Margarine”. Polyunsaturated in their natural state are fine, but once they are heated and processed, they are no longer good for the body.  It’s important to note that good fats are immediately absorbed and responsible for the release of a very important hormone called CCK, (chrolecystokeninin) which signals your brain to stop eating and aids in turning off the hungry switch. The other important thing to know is the fact that fats slow down the rate of absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

If we don’t get enough fat, the body is forced to break down muscle and bone mass and creates more fat storage.  So, don’t be afraid to eat the good fats in moderation, of course, like olive oil, avocados, fish and fish oils, all kinds of nuts, especially yummy macadamia nuts.

Know The Facts About Carbohydrates

 Nutritional Information  Comments Off on Know The Facts About Carbohydrates
Mar 072012


All carbohydrates have one thing in common, sugar.  Our body needs carbohydrates because they give us the energy we need to function each day.       If we don’t take in enough carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels drop too low and the brain will lacks important nutrients, and this is when cravings can set in.  Some carbohydrates are better than others because of the way they break down in the digestive track, causing less of a surge in blood sugar.

The body breaks carbohydrates down into the sugar glucose. There are complex and simple carbohydrates, and depending on which ones you eat, it will determine how quickly it is broken down into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. When making food choices, consider the fiber content in the food, even though fiber is not digested, it will determine the rate at which the sugars break down and are utilized by the body.  Eating an orange is a better choice than drinking its juice because the fiber in the orange slows the uptake of the sugar.  Remember, there is more fiber in raw, uncooked food, and less fiber in processed and precooked foods.

Mar 052012

Brie Popovers

This is an ideal appetizer for a wine tasting party. Served with a nice crisp glass of Chardonnay or a Chablis, Brie cheese adds elegance and style to any gathering and is a wonderful and welcomed addition to any table. Try this one with a cranberry sauce on the side as a delightful spread along with slices of apples and pistachio nuts to delight the taste buds.

1/2 Pound Brie Cheese

2 Eggs

1 Cup all purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

cranberry sauce

shelled pistachio nuts and apple slices as garnish

Generously grease a muffin pan and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  With a wire whisk, beat eggs in a medium bowl.  Add in milk, flour, sugar and salt until smooth, without over mixing.  Fill cups 2/3 full and bake at 450 for 5 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes, until they look crusty and golden brown.  Pull from the oven and slice the top of each muffin and insert a small slice of brie cheese into the top.  Bake for another 5 minutes and remove from pan and place on a nice serving plate with cranberry sauce in the middle and sprinkle pistachio nuts and slices of apple around the plate to add color and add a nutty flavor to the popovers.