Roasted Rosemary & Garlic Pototates

Remember when I gave you the recipe for roasted potatoes?  I mentioned that I would pass along other varieties, so I’m living up to that promise today!  These have SO much flavor.  This recipe just amps up the flavor because of the rosemary and garlic!  This is, without a doubt, one of my most favorite ways to cook potatoes (as if ATK would ever let me down, right?!).  They compliment so many main courses, so get those potatoes roastin’!

Roasted Rosemary & Garlic Red Potatoes
Adapted from “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1.5 pounds red potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed and cut into ¾-inch wedges
1 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced to a paste

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the potatoes with the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Arrange the potatoes cut-side down in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.  Roast for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are crusty and golden, about 15 minutes.  Flip the potatoes and continue to roast until crusty and golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes longer.

Sprinkle rosemary over the potatoes during the final 3 minutes of roasting.  Toss the roasted potatoes with garlic before serving.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  152.6
Protein:  3.2g
Carbs:  28g
Fat:  3.7g (0.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.9g
Sugar:  1.7g

Friday Feature: Success Story – Susan

With this being a “New Year, New You” kind of week, I thought it would be that much more inspiring to share a success story with you today!

I have so many inspiring stories to share, but decided to share Susan’s story because she inspires me for a GAZILLION reasons!  For starters, she is INCREDIBLY humble!  It took a lot of begging on my part before she finally consented to allow me to show you her pictures.  While she has NOTHING to be embarrassed about (in fact, she has everything to be proud of), she is NOT one to brag.  So, I’ll be doing all the bragging while she’s probably reading this and partially dying inside to have someone talking so much about her.  Love you Susan!

I will say, she finally consented because she wants other people to know that it is possible to change your body and your habits.  She wasn’t so sure it was possible for her, but through a program that outlined her nutrition and exercise plan, she accomplished something she never knew she could. Despite her crazy (yet awesome) life, her age, and her schedule . . . she passed her goal and is maintaining it beautifully!

Her pictures tell a lot of her story, but here are a few of her stats:

  • She dropped over 26 fat pounds!
  • She dropped over 10% in body fat!
  • She melted a total of 22.5 inches off her body!

Now, isn’t that inspiring!?  You want to take a double take, don’t you?  You can . . . check out the pictures!

Susan was so nice and generous and said to me, “Thank you for taking me as I was and for sincerely loving me and teaching me how to accomplish a goal I have NEVER been able to do.”

She cruised through her program by putting in some hard work, a winning effort, and a conquering attitude.  I may have taught her a thing or two about nutrition and exercise, but she taught me other valuable skills/traits along the way.  We developed a special relationship throughout her journey and it’s one I still treasure today!  I love this woman more than words can say.  I wish you could all be friends with her because she would change your life in SO many ways.  She has mine!

Fit Chicken Corn Chowder

Are any of you soup fans?  I love my food, and soup is of no exception.  I feel kind of lucky that my husband will eat soup as a main course because I have several friends who claim that their husbands don’t really call soup a meal.  Whatever their arguments may be, it doesn’t matter because I have a man that will eat soup so I love to make it!

With that being said, I definitely make my soups hearty.  I am quick to make sure that there is enough protein which always helps to make them more dinner-worthy.  This chowder is one of our favorite soups around our house.  I can hardly believe that it’s even appropriate for a light meal, considering it has the word “chowder” in the title, but I’ve trimmed it up a bit to lower the calories to be just about right!

This soup is creamy, the veggies give it such great flavor, and the ham/chicken combination is fantastic in it.  I’m gonna say that the cream cheese is probably what gives this soup that over-the-top, give-me-more appeal. I know the list of ingredients seems long, but don’t let that scare you.  The soup comes together in a flash and it’s TOTALLY worth it!

Before my grandma passed away, Beau and I would visit her at least once a month.  We would take her dinner and this soup was her #1 requested meal.  Of course she also loved to eat it with my biscuits, but we’ll have to save that recipe for another time.

Fit Chicken Corn Chowder
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and membrane removed (this is important for flavor – but doesn’t add heat because the seeds and membranes are removed and it is cooked with the other veggies)
1/2 cup (3 oz.) thinly sliced or cooked chopped ham (lean)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup frozen corn kernels
12 oz. of chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz. softened light cream cheese
1 cup lowfat milk (1%)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté celery, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ham; cook for another 3 minutes. Whisk the broth with the flour in a liquid measuring cup or bowl and then stir into the soup. Stir in the corn and chicken. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Whisk together the cream cheese and milk in a large bowl until smooth (to avoid major lumps, soften the cream cheese until almost melted in the microwave). Whisk the cream cheese/milk mixture into the soup along with the salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1.5 Cups)
Calories:   252
Protein:  23.2g
Carbs:  19.6g
Fat:  10g (4.8g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.1g
Sugars:  5.7g

Sautéed & Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

I’m not sure what all the craziness and dislike is about when the subject of Brussels Sprouts comes up.  Sure, they aren’t my most favorite veggie on the planet, but if you cook them right they are definitely edible.  This is my second favorite way to eat them (my most favorite way is roasting them).  The garlic, olive oil, and minimal amount of salt and pepper really make these good.  The amount of garlic you add to the skillet is adaptable to your taste.  The recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic.  I minced mine and the garlic taste was pretty strong.  I love garlic, so it didn’t bother me much, but if you’re not a HUGE fan of garlic . . . just reduce the amount to 2 cloves and it should be enough to enhance the sprouts without an overpowering garlic flavor.

Try adding these to your healthy menus at the first of our new year!  The health benefits will be worth it, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Burssels Sprouts aren’t that bad.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
Adapted from

2 lb brussels sprouts (weight after outer leaves and stems removed)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thin
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

With a large sharp knife (or with a food processor with grated blade attached), finely shred the brussels sprouts after thoroughly washing.

In a deep heavy saute pan add olive oil and garlic and sauté until golden. Add shredded brussels sprouts, salt and pepper to taste and sauté on medium-low heat for about 4-5 minutes until tender crisp.

Serves 14.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/2 Cup)
Calories:  42
Protein:  2.2g
Carbs:  6.1g
Fat:  1.7g (0.3g)
Fiber:  2.5g
Sugars:  1.4g

Skillet Shephard’s Pie

This is a GREAT recipe to start off the new year!  Why!?  Let’ me list the reasons for you!  Not only is it healthy, but it’s comforting (it is still winter, right!?), it makes enough to serve most families, it’s a skillet meal so there are less dishes to clean, it’s an all-in-one meal so you don’t have to think of extra sides to make, and it tastes AMAZING!

I grew up on foods like Shephard’s Pie.  My hubby loves it too, so I didn’t have to think twice about trying this recipe when I saw it.  The traditional flavors came together so well . . . . beef, veggies, tomato, and potatoes . . . and I was SUPER thrilled that we had leftovers for a couple of days.  I know you’ll love it too so hurry and add it to your dinner menu this week!

P.S.  If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, you can simply transfer the filling to a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish, top with the potatoes, and cook according to directions.

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 onion, minced
1 celery rib, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 cup peas
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
salt and pepper

1 ½ pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/3 cup 1% lowfat milk, warmed
1/4 cup light sour cream, room temperature
salt and pepper

FOR THE FILLING:  Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the carrots, onion, and celery and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Sir in the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the flour, garlic, and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the broths and thyme.

Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened but still saucy, 20 to 25 minutes (while this is happening, make the topping).  Of the heat, stir in the peas and corn and season with salt and pepper to taste.

FOR THE TOPPING:  Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water and the potatoes to a simmer in a large saucepan over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan.  Mash the potatoes and then stir in the milk and sour cream until smooth, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dollop the potatoes over the top of the filling then smooth them into an even layer, making sure to spread them to the edge of the skillet (this will function as a seal and will prevent the filling from bubbling over the edges).  Bake until the filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element, heat the broiler, then broil the casserole until the top is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the skillet to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/6 of the Recipe)
Calories:  312.4
Protein:  20.6g
Carbs:  32.8g
Fat:  10.8g (4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.9g
Sugars:  5.6g

New Year, New You!

The biggest holiday season of the year is over and a new year has begun!  How many of you are setting New Year’s resolutions?  Did you know (I’m sure you definitely won’t be surprised by this) that health and/or fitness is always among the top 5 resolutions set by Americans?  If you’re like most of us, something health/fitness related will be included in your resolutions this year.

To no surprise, I totally encourage this!  There’s always something we can do better (I’m totally going to improve my running pace this year).  However, wouldn’t it be nice to be at your goal weight so that your resolution isn’t always to lose weight?  Make this YOUR year to get where you’ve always wanted to be.  Do it the right way by improving your lifestyle (PLEASE . . . .  I beg of you – no crash diets, my friends!).  Make a permanent change.  While the gift giving season has passed, you should now consider giving yourself the best gift ever . . . better health and a better life.  You can read more about my philosophy on this subject here.  If I’m not already working with you, feel free to contact me for additional information or for a free fitness evaluation.  Helping others achieve their goals and change their lifestyle is what I LOVE.

I know that a lot of you are already making plans to improve your health because my blog posts had record viewing yesterday.  I’m THRILLED to know that you’re planning some healthy meals for the new year.  I’m jumping right in with you and will be back to regular posting of more delicious and healthy recipes.

So, here’s to a New Year & a New You!

Skillet Beef Tamale Pie

“You’ve really outdone yourself with this one!”  That’s what my Beau said when he had this for dinner.  He was elated to find out that there were leftovers and he could eat them for lunch the next two days.  I suppose it was the Southwestern filling capped with a corn bread topping that did it.  We are definitely huge tamale fans in our house, and this was a nice and simplified version of such flavors.  The base of this recipe comes from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, and if you don’t know by now, I have a deep love for ATK.  They rarely let me down, and they certainly didn’t with this recipe.  I think that making this in a skillet is genius because there are less dishes to wash!  (That being said, if you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, you can totally transfer the filling to a casserole dish and top it with the cornbread topping and then bake.  If so, just get someone else — the kids, the spouse, the dog — to wash the dishes.)  When you decide to make this, please call Beau and invite him over.  You’ll make his day!

P.S.  This is more of a recipe for maintaining your weight, not necessarily for losing.  If you’re trying to lose, you’ll want to pull the black beans out of the recipe and possibly put less corn bread topping on top.  Substituting ground turkey will also pull the calorie count down a little.

Skillet Beef Tamale Pie
Adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

1 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef
1 cup black beans, rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
salt and pepper

Corn Bread Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING:  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion, bell pepper, and chili powder and cook until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the ground beef, beans, tomatoes and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the cheese and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and set aside while preparing the topping.

FOR THE TOPPING:  Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together.  Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until uniform, then stir in the melted butter until just combined.

Using a rubber spatula, dollop the corn bread topping evenly over the filling, then spread it into an even layer, covering the filling completely.  Bake the pie until the topping is golden and has baked through completely in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Divide the pie into 6 equal slices and enjoy.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Slice)
Calories:  409
Protein:  29.9g
Carbs:  47.2g
Fat:  13.3g (5.8g = Sat.)
Fiber:  6.2g
Sugars:  11.2g