Dilly Cucumber Bites

You know those times when you make a grand entrance at a holiday party with the nagging thought skittering around the back of your mind “I cannot eat more junk. If I consume one more chocolate treat I’m going to explode.”? Nah. Me neither. However, I understand these kinds of people exist. For all your veggie loving friends, I give you these delightfully fresh and light Dilly Cucumber Bites. Sliced cucumbers get a dollup of creamy topping tinged with fresh dill, garnished with tomato. Festive, simple and perfect for parties! Make a couple batches! As the not-so-bad-for-you option on the buffet, they disappear like lightning!

Dilly Cucumber Bites

Print Recipe for Dilly Cucumber Bites

Dilly Cucumber Bites
from JessFuel

4 large English cucumbers
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (or quartered…depending on size)
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, at room temperature
1 small (5.3 oz) container plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 tbsp powdered Ranch dressing mix (such as Hidden Valley)

Directions

  1. Slice cucumbers into rounds, about ½-inch thick. You can leave the skin on, peel them, or partially peel them for a striped look. Slice grape tomatoes in half (or quarters, if large) and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, Greek yogurt, dill and Ranch dressing powder. Mix thoroughly. You can use an electric mixer, but you can also do this by hand.
  3. Transfer the cheese mixture to a piping bag (if you don’t have one, you can use a large Ziplock bag with a corner snipped off).
  4. Pipe the cheese mixture onto the cucumber rounds, then top with a tomato half!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Am I the only one who always always always gains weight between November and January? It’s very irritating. You’d think with as many treats as I make all year-long, my body would be accustomed to constantly noshing on goodies. But no. Hello spare tire. Back again? Wonderful. Just in time for 1000 pictures with family during Christmas events. So here it is, the second week of January and my resolution to drop those pesky pounds is in full swing. Which means some healthier options for dinner. Thankfully, that does not mean (at least in my world) bland-tasteless-boring food. No. I cannot. Scratch that – absolutely will not – sacrifice flavor just because I’m trying to drop a few. Enter this easy peasy, monstrously delicious chili.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili04_1

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Breakfast Cookies

I’m always trying to find new ways to use up bananas. Somehow, there are always a few growing freckles on my counter. Banana bread or delicious Monkey Bites are usually what I bake up, but a breakfast cookie intrigued me. These “cookies” have the texture of baked oatmeal, but since they’re dropped and baked on cookie sheets they get the cookie moniker.

These are dairy free, egg free and using gluten-free oats makes these babies a perfect snack for all you GF folks. They are soft and filled with flavor. Perfect for on-the-go breakfast or stashing in your bag for an afternoon snack. You could use blueberries or dried cranberries instead if you’re not a fan of raisins.

Here’s where the obvious food preferences of my children come into sharp focus. I called these cookies when offering them to my daughter, which made her decide not to even try them at first (she is her father’s non-sweet tooth child). Later in the day she consented to have one (and loved it) after I explained that it was oatmeal and not really a cookie cookie.

My son heard the word cookie from across the house and came bounding down the steps and lightning speed to gobble down three for breakfast. I was celebrated as the nicest, greatest mom ever because I said yes when he asked for more. The look on his face was priceless. Like he was trying to figure out what bizzaro world he’d woken up to where mom was doling out cookies for breakfast. It was great. Make up a batch and be a hero in your house too! Enjoy!

Breakfast cookies
makes 19 cookies

3 mashed bananas (ripe)
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Drop spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets, flatten slightly and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Coconut Curry Chicken

Sometimes, you need to try a little something different. In an effort to expose my kids to more than just American cuisine, I decided to make this light and delicious meal with the pungent spices of India. The dish also heavily relies on coconut milk, which mellows it out and gives it a nice sweetness. When I first saw the toppings I was a little skeptical. I don’t think I’ve ever put raisins in my dinner. And, combined with curry? But, I was feeling adventurous and I’m glad I broadened my horizons. It was delicious. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the crunch of the peanuts, sweetness of the coconut and raisins really made the spicy richness of the curry shine.

If you’re feeling stuck in a bit of a cooking rut and are looking for something to spice up the dinner table, this is it. It’s a little unusual and certainly very different than the normal fare that graces my table, but I figured anything that had potatoes AND rice in it couldn’t be bad! The original recipe called for it to be prepared in a crock pot, but it only cooked for 5 hours. Which, I find kind of defeats the purpose of crock pot cooking. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a job that only requires you to be there for half a normal workday, 5 measly hours in the crock pot isn’t really going to help you. Besides, the meal comes together my way in about a half hour – so I don’t see the need for busting out the slow cooker.

Coconut Curry Chicken
adapted from Taste of Home, Healthy Cooking Cookbook

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • Raisins, flaked coconut and chopped peanuts, optional

Directions

  • In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, brown chicken on both sides.
  • Remove and set aside. In the same pan, cook the onion and potatoes briefly until softened/slightly browned. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk, curry, garlic, bouillon, salt and pepper; pour over onions and potatoes. Scrape up any brown bits that are on the bottom of the pan. Add chicken back to the pan. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes until meat is tender. Depending on the thickness desired for your sauce, add additional coconut milk to thin slightly.
  • Serve chicken and sauce with rice; sprinkle with green onions. Garnish with raisins, coconut and peanuts if desired.
    Yield: 
    4 servings.

5 Minute Candy (Broiled Grapefruit)

Let me begin by asserting that I am NOT one of those skinny girls who thinks grapefruit is the perfect breakfast. I have never liked grapefruit and thought that people who ate it were crazy. <shudder> Sour and tart and just gross. I have tried several times to force myself into consuming this fruit, mostly when I’m “eating healthy”. Ok, let us just call it what it is…dieting. But I’ve never had success finishing even one. Just not my thing at all. Actually, the only grapefruit I’ve ever enjoyed came in the form of a can of Ruby Red Squirt. Until now. Who knew that a tiny (seriously small) sprinkle of brown sugar and a few minutes basking in the light of my broiler would turn nasty grapefruit into candy. I am not joking. The flesh gets soft, sweet and warm. I don’t know what voodoo magic happened in my oven with this thing, but it was incredible. I may eat it every morning until forever.

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No Bake Energy Bites

My husband recently brought home some chocolate from Israel. His co-worker brought it back from a trip. I was intrigued by the packaging. Instead of a caloric count on the back, the label read “energy”. I love that. Food = Fuel. Sometimes I forget that the food I eat provides energy to my body. These no bake bites are packed with delicious whole food that will give you a little get-up-and-go. Easy to throw together and perfect for stashing a couple in your purse for an on-the-go snack. My kids love these babies. They are easily customizable to your likes as well. Just about anything could be substituted here. Feel free to change it up with any variety of nut butter or whatever you have in your pantry that you think may be good. Have fun and enjoy! [Read more…]

Zucchini Pizzas

Stay with me. I know the title of this recipe sounds a little odd. But I promise, these are delicious. Sort of like a deep-fried zucchini meets a pepperoni pizza. In one delicious mouthful. Not much goes better with a lazy Sunday watching football than pizza. Unfortunately, I’ve already way surpassed my quota for slices eaten this season. So, I set out to make myself something to munch that would be hearty and filling with the flavors of pizza and none of the guilt. Zucchini pizzas were born. These little babies are delicious and a mostly healthy alternative to cheese drenched bread on game day.

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Apple Carrot Bran Muffins

We are having an aerobics session at tomorrow’s MOPS. And, my table is on tap for breakfast foods. I figured I should bring something that’s not laden with sugar, butter and cheese. Drat. These muffins totally fit the bill. They are chock full of fruits and veggies – and almost no fat! They are moist, delicious and practically guilt free! Seriously. These are absolutely fantastic. Yippee! Bring on the workout! I’m ready. I hope tomorrow’s  exercise session is something like the included video. That would make me so happy. And probably would also make me fall on my face…but I’d be happy! [Read more…]

Blueberry Bran Muffins

A little healthy snack for those of you watching your calories at the start of the new year. Don’t we all have those 5 (cough!) – ok, 15 “Christmas cookie pounds” to lose? I certainly do. All my baking caught up with me this year. I modified this recipe so each muffin has a mere 100 calories – a perfect afternoon snack! And a terrific source of fiber. Did you know that women should be eating 25 grams of fiber daily? Men should be taking in 38 grams! Maybe let your guy have two of these muffins to help him along. They are moist and delicious – you wouldn’t even know how healthy they are if I didn’t tell you so.
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