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Tasty Carrot Soup

This is a yummy lite dish that will warm your tummy, but not add extra pounds.

Meal stretcher: Double the recipe and bring it for lunch or add it as an appetizer for a multi-course meal.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh carrots
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)
  • 1 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups+ vegetable stock or water
  • juice of 1/4 a lemon
  • fine grain sea salt (as much as you need)

Quick Steps

  1. Take the tops off the carrots (if they have tops) and give them a good scrub
  2.  Cut them into 1-inch segments and set aside
  3.  Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat
  4.  Add the garlic and onions and sauté for a few minutes or until the onions start to get translucent
  5.  Add the stock and carrots and bring to a gentle boil
  6.  Lower the heat and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender - longer if your carrot pieces ended up larger. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.
  7.  Puree with a hand blender then stir in the lemon juice
  8.  Add salt to taste and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
Voila! Add a small salad and there is a tasty meal or late nite snack. Enjoy!

Breaded Baked Fish

I went on a fun holiday after New Years and now...I'm back! Hey! Seafood is high in Omega3 and a healthy treat. If the fish is fresh, it will smell sweet like the ocean, so make sure if you are using "fresh" fish, you give it the sniff test first. Think fresh like sushi!

Meal stretcher: Make an extra piece non-breaded for a tasty salad topper the next day

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 Fresh fish steaks or fillets (swardfish, cod, halibut, whitefish, seabass)
  • 1 cup Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tea.Lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tea. parsley flakes
  • 2-tea. melted butter
Quick Steps:
  1. Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry
  2. Mix lemon pepper seasoning with bread crumbs and place mixture in a plate
  3. Brush one side of each fish fillet with melted butter
  4. Coat the fish with bread crumbs by laying it butter side down on the plate
  5. Repeat for each side
  6. Place in a shallow baking pan or dish
  7. Bake at 350 degrees in the center rack for abput 8 minutes on each side or until fish flakes and is tender.
Healthy, tasty and easy! Serve with veggies and Voila! A meal that wil help you melt off those extra holiday inches! Enjoy.

Salmon Cake Salad


I just tested this recipe and MAN is it a winner!  I cooked these delicious babies outside at the cooktop to keep the neighbors jealous! So we have heard of crab cakes, but I bet you have not tried salmon cakes. Well, the 99 cent store had packets of salmon (Chicken of the Sea Salad Toppers) so I thought I would be a bit creative...and it worked out well.

Meal Stretcher: make a double batch as an appetizer for the next day

Ingredients:
  • 6 oz salmon flaked (I used Chicken of the Sea - 3 oz ea.)
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tea. reduced fat mayo
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (to make it firm like a hamburger patty)
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • Pepper to taste

Quick Steps:
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl
  2. Form into patties - makes about 3 cakes
  3. Pour canola oil into the skillet, just slightly coating the bottom
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet until hot
  5. Place the cakes in the oil
  6. Heat one side about 4-5 minutes until golden brown (life up with a spatula to check color)
  7. Gently turn over and heat the other side
  8. When done, place each cake on a paper towel to drain
  9. Serve the cakes on a bed of mixed greens and top with tarter sauce or a lemon squeeze
And Voila!  You have a different twist on an old favorite that will serve as a meal in itself or a tasty appetizer. Enjoy!

How Adorable..even Julia Childs Burns food...

Wonderful Skinny Cream Sauce!


White sauce is an excellent and versatile meal component...especially if you pour it over pasta or over protein,such as chicken or shrimp!
Add sauteed mushrooms and vodka for some extra punch.

Meal Stretcher: Make an extra batch and freeze it for another day or it can stay in the fridge for about 4-5 days.

Ingredients:
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup low fat milk or use light cream for a richer sauce
  • 1/8 cup freshly grated parmesan or Ramano cheese
Quick Steps:
  1. Saute garlic in butter over a low heat
  2. Optional: add diced or sliced mushrooms and saute until soft
  3. Optional: Add  a splash of vodka
  4. Add flour and milk
  5. Stir over bedium heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Pour over pasta or protein
So there you have it...a nice ceamy sauce that cn be low in fat and high in taste. Garnish with tomato and chopped parsley and VOILA! Instead of opening a jar, you look like a goumet superstar ;)

New Years Bites!


Happy New Year! Its time for a celebration and some fun and easy appetizers to bring to a party or for your own gathering. Unlike a Super Bowl gathering, chicken wings, hot dogs and and chips with guacamole just won't do!

 
New Years Eve calls for a little crisper presentation and some more upscale food. No worries my friend, I've got you covered! To make the best presentation,. I recommend 3 apps, with one being the "star" so to speak, and the other 2, great in presentation, but low cost. Here are TWO quick and easy appetizers you can whip up in no time that will make you look like a real gourmet!

 
.

 
Appetizer #1

 

Awesome Crab Ball (the star - serves 6)

 
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese (you can get it pre-grated)
  • 18 cup diced chives
  • 1/8 tea. garlic powder
  • 1/2 pound imitation crab flaked meat or 1/4lb real and 1/4lb imitation
Quick Steps:
  1. Soften cream cheese at room temperature
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, Parmesan, chives and garlic powder
  3. After mixing well, slowly add your crab meat
  4. Form into a ball, using the sides of the bowl to help shape the mixture
  5. If you are having trouble making a ball, make a dome, oblong shape or whatever works!
  6. Once you are happy with the shape, place it on a plate and serve with crackers
Appetizer #2

Spinach & Artichoke Dip  - Serves 6-10

 
Ingredients
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup mayo (can use reduced fat)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 diced chives 10 oz package frozen spinach - thawed
Quick Steps:
  1. In a medium microwave safe bowl, and mayo, chives and Parmesan cheese
  2. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop into small pieces. Add to mixture
  3. Drain excess water from spinach bu squeezing it between paper towels
  4. Add spinach to mixture
  5. Place the mixture in the microwave for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts
  6. Stir the mixture and heat for another minute
  7. Serve hot with tortialla chips



Soup Shots

Ingredients:
  • 1 carton Campbell's roasted tomato soup
  • 1 carton Campbell's golden butternut squash
  • 1 carton small multi-colored tomatoes
  • Tobasco
  • toothpicks
  • 1 dozen small glasses

Quick Steps:
  1. Chill soup
  2. Pour each flavor into it's own shot glasses
  3. tip: layer soups in one glass, one on top of the other
  4. Drop one shot of Tobasco on top
  5. Add a tomato to a toothpick and use as a garnish 

And there you have it! Fill a couple of nice small bowls with assorted nuts, light some small candles and voila! A quick appealing appetizer display that will get the party going.  Happy New Year...Enjoy!

The 7- Day Challenge!

"Why bother with the mess...it's just me..." or  "I hate to shop, besides, it costs too much!" Or how about this, "I just don't have time...I am so tired!" The list goes on. Do these phrases sound familiar? They are all common excuses for grabbing a frozen dinner or having take out. I should know! These are my old favorite excuses, that in the long run, did not serve me well.

What if I told you that cooking for one is quick, easy, non-messy, less expensive and fun! Do I have you yet? How about if I told you that you that cooking meals at home is less expensive than doing take-out or buying a pre-packaged dinner?  Let's do the math!

For a average 3-item take out MEAL (El Pollo Loco, Rubios, Pick-up Stix) the cost $5.95 minimum, and that is not a "fast food" single menu item, which is not part of this discussion. Next, an average frozen dinner on sale with veggies is about $2.75 minimum (source: http://heateatreview.com/) Let's multiply this out for a week, and we get $41.65 for take out and $19.25 per week for frozen dinners. This does not look too bad at first, but let's take a closer look.

The quality of El Pollo Loco and other restaurants that do nice fresh take out is good. But for the price can be pretty expensive. Also, there are usually not substantial portions with anything left over for lunch. Now let's look at frozen meals. The quality of ingredients in the frozen food option is not the best, yet alone, very balanced! The frozen veggies are mushy and are just scraps.  The entire dish is usually covered with a mystery sauce to give it taste. We won't even talk about the freshness factor. Why not cut costs and increase the food quality and start cooking at home?

My case for change: At first, take out and frozen food may look like good solutions for not cooking, but in reality, they are not. At $20.00 - $42.00 per week minimum just for dinner, there is no real savings. In addition, you have consumed food where you have no real control over the ingredients, and dishes that are often high in hidden fat, sodium and sugars!

So I ask you to step up and take my challenge! Choose to cook dinner at home for 7-days. I have a starter list of menues below.  You can make variations from these our use your own. Once you choose your meals, make a shopping list and hit the store . If you stick to the ingredients on this list, you can make at least 7 "single serve" meals that will give you more food that is higher in nutrition at an overall lower cost! The cost for a 7-day work week is approximately $35.00 max, and you will have extra ingredients for more meals!

Success Tips:
  1. Print out your 7 recipes and get them ready for your weekly meal plans
  2. Make a list of your ingredients and shop for them all at once
  3. Prepare a little extra food to take to work the next day, to further cut your food bill.
  4. Shop at the $99 cent only store for the majority of your ingredients! * http://www.99only.com/
  5. Be creative, have fun and add your own ideas to each dish (i.e., veggies, spices)
* call your local store, as veggies are usually delivered fresh on a specific day. I have saved a bundle by shopping there!