Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip

Trust me. You won’t miss the extra fat and calories from all the gooey cheeses in the traditional recipe. This one’s packed with nutrients and protein you can feel good about!

4 large pieces artichoke hearts (I used canned, packed in water)

1 Cup 2% cottage cheese

1/4 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese

3 cloves garlic, pressed or diced very finely (I had some roasted in the refrigerator that I used)

2 Cups raw spinach, steamed then drained (you could probably also use frozen)

1 Cup plain Greek yogurt

Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 – 20 minutes until bubbly.  Serve with whole grain crackers or tortilla chips.

Makes 4 servings (1 serving pictured)

Calories 124 / Carbs 8 / Fat 3 / Protein 17

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Faux Rice Pudding

Faux Rice Pudding

Bear with me on this. Rice pudding. Only not.

I’ve used cauliflower as a substitute for rice in a yummy stirfry dish, so I figured, why not? Obviously, it has a slightly different taste than traditional rice pudding, but it’s still a pretty good reminder of the traditional, calorie laden comfort food.

So, here goes.

2 Cups raw cauliflower pulsed in a food processor until it is “rice-like”

1/4 Cup raisins (optional: extra for sprinkling on the top)

2 Egg whites

1/2 Cup coconut milk (optional: drizzle some extra on the top of individual servings right before serving)

1 Tbs. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbs. coconut sugar crystals

Lightly spray a non-stick loaf pan with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients directly in the pan and stir. Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for about 30-35 minutes until firm and top is golden. Let sit 5-10 minutes to set up before serving.

Serves 4

Calories 119/Carbs 17/Fat 5/Protein 5

Chicken Pot Pie Cleaned Up

You may remember a few weeks ago when I made a pizza with a zucchini crust. This was my starting point for a clean version of one of my favorites, chicken pot pie. The old American classic comfort food, only cleaner!

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After a couple of attempts and one mishap where loss of both pie and ramekin were involved, I finally came up with this and I guess you could say I was fairly excited!

For the crust:

1 1/2 C. shredded zucchini (remove as much water as possible–see pizza crust recipe notes)

1 whole egg

1 egg whte

1/4-1/2 C. brown rice flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well and set aside. I used a little more flour in this than in the pizza crust recipe to make it a little more consistency of a drop biscuit mix. The amount of flour you use also depends on how much water you’re able to remove from the zucchini.

For the filling:

8  oz. cooked chicken breast, shredded or cubed (I used some chicken I had boiled then pulled apart)

1 C. of mixed vegetables (You can use leftovers, frozen or fresh varieties of whatever you like; corn, celery, carrots, onion, broccoli, etc. Keep in mind the calorie and macro content below may vary slightly based on this)

1/2 C. plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

Enough liquid (water, milk, soy, etc) to make a creamy base

Seasonings to taste (poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper)

In a skillet over low-medium heat, combine chicken and vegetables with yogurt and liquid, simmering until heated through. Season to taste.

Putting it all together:

You will need two small ramekins for individual pies or a regular size pie pan if you want to make one large one. I coated the insides of my ramekins with a little coconut oil to keep the filling from sticking.

Spoon filling (1/2 mix into each ramekin if doing individual pies) and top with zucchini crust mix. Place in a preheated 350 F oven for about 20-25 minutes until the crust is set and starts to golden up. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy!

Serves 2

Per serving:

Calories 374/Carbs 42/Fat 5/Protein 42

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

These muffins are healthy, fairly low in calories, carbs and fat, but definitely do not skimp on taste! They have a light lemony flavor that’s not overpowering. Bake up a batch and enjoy on a hot summer day. Or a cold day. Or any day. Really.

Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour (you can buy this but I grind old fashioned oats in my food processor–so easy and cheap!)

1 cup brown rice flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbs. chia seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. liquid Stevia (or to taste)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. lemon flavor (I use a natural lemon oil/safflower oil flavoring from my health food store)*

1 Tbs. coconut oil (heated to liquid form)

1 whole egg**

2 egg whites

Zest of one lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Up to 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or your choice of dairy or non-dairy milk)

1 1/2 cup red raspberries

COOK’S NOTES:  *Feel free to omit the lemon flavor and just rely on the juice if you don’t like as much lemon, but really the flavor using both was very light and refreshing.  **Whole eggs make baked goods moist, but I may try this next time without the whole egg and opt for 3 egg whites instead to further reduce the calorie count. Some recipes lend themselves well to using only the whites. It’s a trial and error thing!

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together and form a well in the center. Add in liquid ingredients except the milk. Stir in milk a little at a time until the batter is of cake batter consistency. Stir well to incorporate.

Fold in raspberries and pour into greased muffin tins (I rubbed muffin tins with coconut oil). Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or until golden.

Makes 12 muffins

Serving size: 1 Muffin

118 Calories/19 Carbs/3 Fat/4 Protein

Basic Pancakes

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It seems I’ve developed a Saturday tradition now that I’m marathon training.

Pancakes!!

I love them and I love trying out different recipes, add-ins and toppings. This simple, basic recipe is one I keep going back to, usually I add some blueberries to it. You can add chocolate chips, carob chips (next on my to try list), strawberries, top with almond butter, peanut butter, Greek yogurt or the old stand-by, maple syrup (go for organic)!

It’s always good to have a few basic, go-to recipes in your repertoire that you can tweak to your tastes for any given day~whether breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. So, here’s my basic pancake recipe:

1/4 Cup brown rice flour

1/8 Cup almond flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1  egg white

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 mashed banana

small amount of liquid (water, almond, soy, or dairy milk)

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In  a separate bowl, combine the egg white, vanilla and banana, mix until banana is well mashed. Add to the dry ingredients and stir. Add in enough liquid, a little at a time, until smooth and pourable.

Pour batter into a heated skillet (about medium heat)  lightly coated with your choice of oil. I usually make about 2 or 3 small-medium sized pancakes. Once the batter starts to bubble, I usually add in my blueberries (your choice or leave them plain!) right before I flip them over to cook on the other side.

Top with pure maple syrup or try some coconut butter! YUM!

My New Love Affair with Almond Flour

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Back when I tried the “low carb” thing a few years ago, I heard a lot about almond flour but I’d never tried it. It’s a little on the expensive side when compared with other options and at that point it was better to distance myself from all things “bread” anyway. But since I’ve been eating clean, I’ve been broadening my horizons and reintroducing healthy carbs. And while it’s still a little more than I usually like to spend, I’ve found a way to stretch it, making it a more feasible staple.

First off, I don’t eat an abundance of baked goods anyway, so my use of flour substitutes is limited by that alone. Second, whatever the recipe calls for I’ve been subbing a mixture of half almond flour, half brown rice flour. It seems to work well and gives whatever you’re making a subtle nutty flavor and texture without changing the consistency too much (almond meal or flour is a little more coarser).

Serving for serving (1/4 cup) here’s how the two stack up (these examples are both Bob’s Red Mill brand):

Brown Rice Flour                                   Almond Flour

Calories:  140                                           Calories:  140

Fat: 1 g                                                     Fat: 14 g

Carbs:  31 g                                              Carbs:  6 g

Fiber:  2 g                                                 Fiber:  3 g

Protein:  3 g                                              Protein:  6 g

Cost: approx. $3/pound                            Cost:  approx. $10/pound

Just so you don’t have to do the math, here’s the breakdown for one serving (1/4 cup) of the hybrid:

Calories:  140

Fat: 7.5 g

Carbs:  18.5 g (wow!)

Fiber:  2.5 g

Protein:  4.5 g

Cost:  approx. $6.50/pound

I’ve used this combo in clean versions of muffins, pancakes and cookies. I’m still learning all its uses, but so far most of what I’ve attempted has turned out well. Expect to see more recipes in the upcoming posts using this mix!

Zucchini Chicken Margherita

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This was my first attempt at a zucchini crust pizza. I’m not usually much of a pizza fan. That is unless you tell me it’s not healthy and take it away from me. Then I’m craving it for some odd reason. So, I was excited to read about some of the healthier crust options. Because really, it’s pretty easy to adapt the toppings to a healthier lifestyle, but unless you’re satisfied to just opt for whole grain crust, there’s not a lot you can do there.

That’s where zucchini comes in!

I did some research on several different recipes and finally came up with this adaptation. But definitely check out Oatmeal with a Fork‘s version and Your Lighter Side for other options. NOTE: The main thing is to make sure you dry your zucchini as much as possible after shredding it. I tried putting it in a colander and adding salt to help it “sweat” it out, but it didn’t really lose very much moisture. I found the best way was to get the water out was to lay it on some paper towels and roll it up, squeezing out the water and then patting it with more paper towel.

My version serves one, unless you maybe split it with someone and add a side dish, then you could probably get two personal size pizzas out of it. Mix it up, change the toppings, make it your own!

Zucchini Pizza Crust

Enough zucchini to yield about 1 1/2 cups. I used 2 small ones.

1 whole egg

1 egg white

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 tsp. double-acting baking powder

Slice the zucchini in half length-wise. I chose to leave the peel on. Scoop out the seeds. Shred the zucchini with a grater or in a food processor and remove as much moisture as possible (see above note).

Once it’s relatively dry, mix with the other ingredients and spread out evenly onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone. I used a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and this worked well. Put the crust into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until it’s set firm enough that you can flip it over. This will allow you to bake the underside. You’ll want to bake it an additional 10 minutes or so. NOTE: As long as the crust isn’t getting too brown, don’t be afraid to go longer as it tended to get a little mushy again after adding the toppings. I brushed the top (previously the bottom) with olive oil to help it brown up a little during the last few minutes of baking.

Now comes the fun part, figuring out what toppings you want to add to your pizza!

I used a little tomato sauce, seasoned with Italian seasoning and garlic powder, some shredded grilled chicken, sauteed red onion, sliced fresh mozzarella and sliced tomato. Then I popped it back in the oven for a few more minutes just until the cheese was bubbly. This was so good I’ll definitely be making it again, and again, so I can try out different topping combos!

Crust only:

Calories 255/Carbs 37/Fat 5/Protein 17