Helping families eat healthier for less

Helping families eat healthier for less

Monday, February 22, 2016

Veggie-Packed Poached Eggs Great for Breakfast

Veggie-Packed Poached Eggs with Toast

As a nation, we don’t eat enough veggies. It’s not hard to eat a salad or have cooked veggies with dinner, but getting veggies in for breakfast can be a challenge. Sure there are omelets, but I wanted something quick and easy.

The theme for Recipe Redux this month is to “break out of the breakfast boredom.” For me, I just purchased a microwave egg poacher., based on a strong recommendation from one of my best friends.

Microwave Egg Poacher

I opened my fridge and grabbed raw spinach, a red bell pepper, mushroom, green onion, sharp cheddar cheese, and then to spice it up a bit, some turkey pepperoni slices. I also added some dried dill weed as I love the combination of eggs and dill.
Place eggs on bottom and top with assorted veggies

Assemble any veggies you have on hand

It all goes together very fast and cooks in the microwave for only a minute or two.

Veggie-Packed Poached Eggs


2 large eggs
6 slices turkey pepperoni, finely diced
1/2 green onion, trimmed & finely diced
1 mushroom, finely diced
1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely diced raw spinach
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese


Crack eggs into each cop of the microwavable egg poacher; pierce yolks with fork.
Divide remaining ingredients equally among two cups, on top of raw eggs.
Microwave, covered, for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on how runny you want your eggs and the wattage of your microwave. Let rest for 30 seconds.

Makes 1 serving.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
201 calories, 12 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 387 mg cholesterol, 0 g dietary fiber, 19 g protein, and 415 mg sodium. One serving of this low cost recipe provides an excellent source of riboflavin, vitamin D and calcium and a good source of vitamins A and C.

Cost per Serving: $0.83
Pricing Note: all ingredients were at “regular” prices.

Poached eggs right out of the microwave in 1 - 2 minutes

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stuffed Mushrooms with Hemp Seeds

Stuffed Mushrooms with Hemp Seeds

The theme for Recipe Redux this month is to cook with a new ingredient that you've been wanting to try. I was at my local Costco and came across hemp seeds. 

I decided they would be a good, healthy filling for stuffed mushrooms. This recipe below makes a great tasting, healthy appetizer. There are only 38 calories per stuffed mushroom. You can eat several and not feel guilty.

Stuffed Mushrooms With Hemp Seeds

1 10-oz package baby Portobello mushrooms (about 12 small mushrooms)
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp raw shelled hemp seeds (such as Hemp Hearts)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully remove stems from mushrooms. Place mushroom caps in single layer in baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Finely chop the mushroom stems. Melt butter in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add chopped mushroom stems, onions, and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add feta cheese and vinegar, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat. Stir in hemp seeds, thyme and basil. Carefully spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 12 stuffed mushrooms.

Note: White button mushrooms can also be used in place of Portobello mushrooms, if desired.

Nutrition Information (1/12th of recipe):
38 calories, 2.6 g total fat, 1.0 g saturated fat, 3.5 mg cholesterol, 0.8 g dietary fiber, 2.2 g protein, and  46.3 mg sodium.

Cost per Mushroom Serving: $0.42 each (or about $5.08 for whole recipe)

Pricing Note: all ingredients were at “regular” prices except mushrooms were on sale for $3.49 per package.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Hemp Seed Preparation

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Quinoa Butternut Squash Soup perfect for cold winter days

“I received free samples of Progresso Cooking Stock mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Progresso Cooking Stock and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

During the cold winter months, nothing satisfies me more than a hearty bowl of soup.  This quinoa butternut squash soup is a little spicy, filling and healthy. The quinoa adds body and protein to the soup. Serve this soup with a green salad and your meal is done.

Progresso has just introduced a new line of premium Cooking Stocks made by simmering real bones, flavorful vegetables, and aromatic herbs to create stocks that are close to homemade. Progresso uses a new process to simmer real bones so you get stocks that have rich meaty flavor that are full of body. 

Now, instead of spending hours making your own homemade stock, you can now find Progresso’s Cooking Stocks in the soup aisle of grocery stores nationwide. You'll find chicken, unsalted chicken, and vegetable varieties. Use them for all your favorite soups, stews, gravies and sauces to add deep, complex flavors. 

Nutritionally speaking, a one cup serving has 15 to 45 calories, 95 to 420 mg sodium, and 0 to 1 g of fat. I prefer the unsalted chicken variety, with only 95 mg sodium per cup. And there are no artificial flavors; Progresso Stocks offer a clean way to boost your flavor game.

Quinoa Butternut  Squash Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 shallots, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1/3 cup sliced jalapenos (fresh or from a jar)
1 32-ounce container Progresso Unsalted Chicken Cooking Stock
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, & oregano)
1/3 cup red quinoa
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Lime wedges for serving

Heat oil in large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and shallots to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, covered, for 3 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients except lime wedges and stir. Heat over high heat until comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Mash squash with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon to a chunky texture. Ladle into bowls. Serve with lime wedges.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition Information per 1/12th Serving:
93 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g protein, and 225 mg sodium. One serving of this low cost recipe provides an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of fiber.

Mashing Quinoa Butternut Squash Soup for a hearty texture

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Homemade Green Onion Crackers are sure to impress

Homemade Green Onion Crackers are sure to impress

The Recipe ReDux has been around for 54 months! To celebrate, we’re playing a little party game this month: Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 54 or 154.

I chose Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven cookbook that I haven’t used in ages, although it has many good recipes in it. I turned to page 54 and found a recipe for Green Onion Wonton Strips. 

Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven cookbook

This recipe is for making homemade crackers, not really won tons. The original recipe had only white flour, scallions, salt, water, vegetable oil and Chinese sesame oil. I wanted to make them with more fiber so I substituted high fiber flour from Bob’s Red Mill and I added sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and dill. I also found that instead of oil in a skillet, they worked just fine using non-stick spray. I also suggest cutting the green onion pancakes into squares as well as strips.

You will impress your family and guests this holiday when you bring out these homemade crackers. They’re perfect served with cheeses, especially goat cheese, one of my favorites. Your guests will know they’re homemade as they don’t have perfect edges.

Green Onion Crackers

1-1/3 cups high fiber wheat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3 medium scallions, finely minced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 cup water
Extra flour for handling dough
Non-stick cooking spray
1 tablespoon Chinese sesame oil

In a medium bowl, combine flour, scallions, salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and dill. Add the water and stir until well combined and ball is formed. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead a few times, adding additional flour if needed to keep from sticking. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll each ball on floured surface with floured rolling pin until thin, about 7 inches in diameter. Stack the pancakes on a plate, using flour between them to keep them separate. Heat a heavy skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium heat. Add pancakes one at a time and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Brush the top side of each pancake with sesame oil. Cut each pancake in half and then each half into thin strips or squares. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired. Let cool at least 10 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Makes 6 to 8 servings (about 90 bite-sized crackers).

Nutrition Information per 1/8th Serving:
92 calories, 3 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g dietary fiber, 3 g protein, and 149 mg sodium.

Preparation Steps for Green Onion Crackers

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nutty Pumpkin Bread is Gluten Free, but you'd never know it

Nutty Pumpkin Bread is Gluten Free, but you'd never know it

The theme for Recipe Redux this month is Creative Quick Breads, just in time for the holiday season. 

I love anything pumpkin and this time of year it is easy to find pumpkin soups, breads, coffee drinks, and ice cream. Yum! I love pumpkin bread, and wanted to create a gluten-free version for a potluck I’m attending where I know one of more of the guests are not eating gluten.

Using a store-bought gluten-free flour blend makes this recipe easier and faster to put together. I have had good success with the gluten-free flour mix from Bob’s Red Mill. This is a combination of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour and fava bean flour.

Nutty Pumpkin Bread, Gluten Free (but you wouldn’t know it)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 banana, mashed
White sugar substitute equivalent to 1/2 cup (I used 1/4 cup Truvia sugar blend)
Brown sugar substitute equivalent to 1/2 cup (I used 1/4 cup Truvia brown sugar blend)
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour mix)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray 9x5-inch bread pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine butter, coconut oil, banana, white and brown sugar substitutes; mix well. Add eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, xanthum gum, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring only until combined. Do not over mix.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack and then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Makes  12 servings.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
242 calories, 12 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 41 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g protein, and 167 mg sodium. One serving of this low cost recipe provides an excellent source of vitamin A.

Be sure to check out these other quick bread favorites.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy National Nut Day with Nutty Granola

Nutty Granola good any time of day

October 22nd (today) is National Nut Day. We all know that nuts are good for you but make an extra effort to eat one of more servings of nuts today. The theme for Recipe ReDux this month is to think nuts.  I love nuts in many foods, from cashew butter on my toast in the morning, to candied nuts on a green salad with pear slices, blue cheese and dried cranberries, to pecan-crusted fish or chicken breasts, to a nutty dessert, such as chopped nuts on top of a dish of vanilla greek-style yogurt. They are good anytime of day.
One of husband’s favorite snacks is a homemade granola I make mine using walnuts, pecans, and sliced almonds. He enjoys eating the granola plain, as a snack. I like it that way, too, but I also sprinkle it on yogurt, ice cream, or on top of pancake batter.

When I make granola, I use a special pan called a T-Fal ActiFry that has an arm that rotates around the bowl automatically keeping the granola mixture constantly moving inside. It only takes 10 minutes to cook, much faster than oven methods I have used in the past.

 The recipe below is my revised version of the granola recipe found in the recipe booklet that accompanied my ActiFry machine (Cherry-Pecan Granola). I make my version much nuttier. In my version, I add walnuts and sliced almonds in addition to the pecans called for and instead of 3/4 cup of nuts total, my recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups. I also substitute golden raisins for the dried cherries. I use a full teaspoon of cinnamon and omit the salt. You can also add ground ginger or nutmeg, if desired.

Nutty Granola
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup golden raisins

Combine nuts, rolled oats, cinnamon, maple syrup and oil in a large bowl; mix to combine. Transfer mixture to bowl of ActiFry and cook for 9 minutes. Add raisins and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to cookie sheet and allow to cool. Store in airtight container.
Makes 5 cups or ten 1/2-cup servings.

Nutrition Information per (3/4-cup) Serving:

249 calories, 13 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g dietary fiber, 6 g protein, and  2 mg sodium. 

Don’t have an ActiFry, then bake granola (without raisins) on baking sheets lined with foil or parchment paper at 325 F. for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking. Stir in raisins after removing from oven.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Shrimp Cocktail with a Hummus Twist

Shrimp Cocktail with a Twist

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra Dipping Co. LLC, and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I received coupons for free product used in testing this recipe. I was not compensated for my time.

I was so excited to hear about Sabra’s #TwoSpoons Tailgating Recipe ReDux challenge. Sabra is the Official Dips Sponsor of the NFL and challenged Recipe Reduxers to reinvent a tailgate recipe using any flavor of Sabra hummus.

Well, I love shrimp cocktail. My husband loves shrimp cocktail. When I  offer shrimp cocktail at a party, it seems to be the most popular food item of the party. So I decided to do a twist on shrimp cocktail and substitute Sabra’s new Lemon Twist Hummus in place of cocktail sauce. Serve it in a fancy glass and it becomes a real hit with my family and friends.

Just two spoons of hummus a day will fulfill your bean recommendation for the whole week! What could be more delicious than that? Very few of us meet the dietary recommendation for beans. Hummus is an easy way to meet your weekly needs. And humus helps to boot your fiber intake, especially when paired with veggies or whole grains. For more information on Sabra, go to:

To make this recipe ahead of time, simply prepare the shrimp as directed and then refrigerate on ice. Bring the other ingredients and assemble on the spot once you arrive at your tailgate destination. The shrimp cocktails can be assembled in just a couple of minutes. And, you can use plastic stemware, if desired. 

I used Sabra's new Lemon Twist Hummus which pairs beautifully with the shrimp. It's a winning combination.

Shrimp Cocktail with a Twist
1 pound medium (31 to 35 count) uncooked shrimp
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1 10-ounce container Sabra Lemon Twist Hummus
1 stalk celery, trimmed and cut into 4-inch sticks
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
6 martini, margarita, or other special glasses for presentation
6 lemon or lime wedges (optional, for garnish)

Devein shrimp and remove shells, leaving the tails intact. Melt butter in large non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp is no longer pink, about 2 to 3 minutes, turning once during cooking. Remove pan from heat. Transfer shrimp to medium bowl filled with ice water; set aside or refrigerate if assembling at a later time.
Place 3 tablespoons hummus in bottom of each glass. Hang shrimp over the edge of glass, allowing about 5 or 6 shrimp per serving. Garnish with celery, cilantro, and lemon wedge, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled if needed.

Sabra is the perfect option for your tailgating menu, whether it is the shrimp cocktail recipe featured here or any of the other delightful recipes by other Recipe Reduxers listed below.