Skinny Banana Bread Muffins

Skinny Banana Bread Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Skinny muffins that are flavourful and moist. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Well, it is and they are healthier than most. These banana muffins have no oil, low sugar and are only 130 calories. I apologize to the store bought or coffee house muffins.

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas mashed (about 1-1/3 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cup all purpose flour (whole wheat makes them a little more dense)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tin with paper liners or silicon liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash bananas, add egg, vanilla, sugars, and cinnamon and stir well to combine.
  3. In a larger bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add banana mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Gently stir in melted butter. Don’t over-mix the batter as the muffins will be tougher.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 18-25 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 130
  • Fat 2 g
  • Sugar 9 g
  • Carbohydrates 23 g
  • Protein 2 g
  • Fibre 2 g

Note: You can freeze these for up to 2 months in a freezer safe ziplock bag. Make sure that they are completely cooled and get as much of the air out of the bag first.

If calories or sugar are not of concern, you can add walnuts, raisins, cranberries, or even peanut butter (if you add peanut butter, you will need to add an equal amount of flour). This makes the possibilities endless. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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THIS IS NOT GOOD IF YOU ARE COUNTING CALORIES. This is a good salad, a little high in calories but hey once in a while, you have to say, ok, I will indulge. I started this recipe as this was something I had in a restaurant but their version was 1000 so I did all I could to reduce it. I have a few more tricks that I will mention in closing. So let’s get to it.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Taco Seasoning Mix (Old El Paso)
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans (if you use canned, make sure to rinse)
  • 1 lb of extra lean ground beef
  • 45 grams or 1.5 ounces of Cheddar Cheese (reduced fat)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 corn on the cob
  • 1 cup of Salsa (Herdez Salsa)
  • 1 cup of Cilantro chopped
  • 2 cup of Spinach
  • 2 cup of Cooked white rice
  • 2 jalapeño chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put tortilla shells in mold and cook for 10-12 minutes
  3. In a boiling pot of water cook corn for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Once cooked, rinse with cold water to stop cooking and shuck.
  5. In a pan, brown the ground beef and make sure to loosen.
  6. Add Taco mix and cook using directions on package.
  7. Now is assembly, shell, put in rice at bottom, put black beans, taco mixture. Then top with corn, onion, jalapeño, avocado, cheese, cilantro, spinach and salsa.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 622 each
  • Fat 18.9 g
  • Sugar 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 82.8 g
  • Protein 31.7 g
  • Fibre 8.3 g

I started making this at home ironically because I had left over rice and thought of the salad we sometimes have at the mexican restaurant. Want to save time, everything can be prepared ahead of time. Just don’t cut your avocado until the last moment or you can use guacamole. If you want to save some calories, omit the rice at the bottom. I usually use my own salsa which is made to my taste and heat level. I’ve seen this recipe done with refried beans instead of black beans, and brown rice instead of white rice. The possibilities are endless, you can use fish, chicken, pork, completely vegetarian, beyond meat, anything. Let your imagine go, have fun and make it your own.

Orange Chiffon Cake

Orange Chiffon Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I was asked for a recipe that is light not only in calories but also in texture. Something that felt like summer. This is what I came up with. Hope you like it.

This cake is refreshing. It is low caloric and sweet. First time I made a chiffon cake. I had fun and made it my own. Your turn to do the same.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of cake flour (if you don’t have any, all purpose flour will do, minus 2 tbsp and add 2 tbsp of cornstarch)
  • 8 tbsp of a mixture of sucralose and sugar. (if you want to use sugar only that’s ok just remember to add that to the calories and sugar content per serving)
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp of grated orange zest (approx 2 oranges)
  • 3/4 cup of orange juice freshly pressed
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 tsp of brandy or orange liquor (optional)
  • 6 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 2 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
  • Cooking spray or butter and margarine and 1-2 tbsp of flour to coat pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, 6 tbsp of the sucralose-sugar mixture, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs, oil, zest, orange juice, brandy to the flour mixture and mix until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, using clean blades on medium, beat egg whites and cream of tartare until soft peaks. Bring speed up to high and add remaining sucralose-sugar until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. Using a spatula, slowly fold in the egg mixture to the flour mixture until blended.
  6. Pour into a very lightly greased and floured bundt pan. Cook for 50-55 min or until cake tester comes out clean. (Make sure not to open oven door during first 45 minutes)
  7. Reverse onto a parchemin covered plate after cooled completely.
  8. Cut chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl that goes in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds until completely melted.
  9. Pour over cooled cake and cut and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 165
  • Fat 7 g
  • Sugar 15 g
  • Carbohydrates 22 g
  • Protein 4.0 g
  • Fibre 1.0 g

Note: if you are using a nonstick pan, some people recommend not greasing and flouring others say it’s imperative. First time I did it, I didn’t flour the pan just greased it and it stuck. Also make sure to let it cool completely before unmolding or else it will break.

Instead of melted chocolate, you can always add your favourite coulis. Remember have fun and make it your own.

Sole Asparagus with Pesto Sauce

Sole Asparagus with Pesto Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Sole is a fish that most people like. It isn’t strong in taste. It is quick to prepare. Low calorie to boot. Here is a quick recipe that can dress up a plate like no other.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of sole thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 24 spears of aspargus
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of white sauce (see link)
  • 1 tbsp of pesto paste or you can make a quick pesto with 1/2 cup of chopped basil, 4 minced garlic cloves and 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 lemon cut into 8 slices

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Season sole to taste.
  3. Place lemon slices at bottom of baking sheet
  4. Divide sole into four
  5. Wrap 2 spears of asparagus into one serving of sole.
  6. Sprinkle with olive oil.
  7. Place remaining spears onto the pan.
  8. Put 1 tbsp of lemon juice over fish, per serving.
  9. Place in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes.
  10. In the meantime, prepare white sauce.
  11. Once the sauce has reached ideal thickness, add pesto paste. (if adding fresh ingredients like chopped basil and garlic and oil, add at start of preparing sauce)
  12. Once fish is cooked, plate and put 1/4 of the sauce over each serving. Adding extra asparagus to the sides.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 293
  • Fat 11.7 g
  • Sugar 7.8 g
  • Carbohydrates 13.6 g
  • Protein 29.5 g
  • Fibre 1.8 g

This is easy, quick and makes a nice plate. As you see I didn’t have enough asparagus spears so I prepared edamame beans. With the asparagus you have your veggie content and the fish your protein content, serve it with rice and or bread and you have your starch and a balanced meal. You can do this with any fish that you could wrap around the asparagus. A thinner fish like mahi mahi, or tilapia work great. If you want it spicy just add crushed chili peppers when preparing your white sauce. You can cut the recipe in half so you don’t have a bunch of extra sauce left over. Remember the most important thing, have fun and make it your own.

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Pork, the other white meat. It is easy to get in a rut with certain meats. Pork chops are one of them. I don’t know why but I usually end up doing the same way over and over again. This time I thought I needed to do something different. I was looking around the kitchen and started seeing this come together. It was quick, easy and ended up working out quite well.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops approx. 4 ounces (thickness will make your cook time vary)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c of honey
  • 1/4 c of water or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp of rice wine vinegar (if you don’t have any you can use white vinegar)

Directions

  1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Heat oil in an oven proof pan or skillet (I use a cast iron pan) on medium high heat. Sear chops on both sides until golden and cooked through (about 4-5 minutes per side) Transfer to plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Saute garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  4. Preheat oven to broil with rack on top shelf.
  5. Add honey and water and vinegar. Increase heat to medium high and continue to cook until the sauce reduces down and thickens slightly (about 5 minutes) while stirring occasionally.
  6. Add chops back into the pan and baste generously with the sauce.
  7. Place pan in oven for 2-3 minutes or until edges are slightly charred and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 332
  • Fat 12 g
  • Sugar 14 g
  • Carbohydrates 15 g
  • Protein 29 g
  • Fibre 0 g

The honey and garlic give this a nice change of pace. If you want a little kick to it, you can add cayenne pepper to taste. Add a little something green like parsley or cilantro or even curled cucumber. Just makes it pretty. Serve it with rice, vegetables, pasta, delicious  homemade multigrain bread (see recipe) and/or a salad. Be creative. Have fun and remember to make it your own.

Banana Prune Muffins

Banana Prune Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Not everyone likes prunes. I’m not the biggest fan, but it was suggested I have some. So I buy a bag, and realized I needed to find recipes or I would waste a lot of them. Came across this recipe, did a few modifications (made it my own) and voila, another muffin recipe and to my own surprise, quite good.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of mashed banana
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of chopped pitted prunes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour muffin tin or use paper liners (I use reusable silicone muffin liners)
  3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil and egg and beat until smooth.
  4. Blend in banana and vanilla.
  5. Mix together in another bowl flour, baking powder, baking sodium, salt and cinnamon.
  6. Stir into egg mixture until just moistened.
  7. Mix in the prunes.
  8. Spoon into muffin cups.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 187
  • Fat 5.2 g
  • Sugar 30 g
  • Carbohydrates 33.6 g
  • Protein 2.7 g
  • Fibre 2.0 g

This muffin was surprisingly good. It was very moist, sweet and had a good texture. You could serve it plain, or heated with a dab of butter. Whatever you choose, have fun and make it your own.

Baked Cajun Garlic Butter Cod

Baked Cajun Garlic Butter Cod

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I like cod. It’s easy to make. It’s juicy. Best of all it’s quick.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb of cod
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 orange or lemon sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a 9 x 13 baking dish place slices of fruit and the 6-4
  3. ounce pieces of cod over them.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk butter,garlic and cajun spices.
  5. Spread evenly over fish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 123
  • Fat 4.5 g
  • Sugar 0 g

Cod is a nice fish to work with. It keeps it’s shape, is versatile and is quick. This is a meal I would serve to guests. If your cajun spice is very spicy, you might want to reduce the quantity and add a bit of paprika for color. If you want it spicier you can chop up a jalapeño to the butter mix.

I served this with a 1/2 cup of rice and some broccoli. Made for a colourful plate and well balanced. What you serve it up with is up to you. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I like tacos, I like pasta, I had no tortilla shells or wraps, so I thought, what the heck. How can I go wrong. Here is a quick meal, hearty meal, a fun meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of penne 454 g or 1 lb
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 2 branches of celery
  • 1 cup of packed spinach
  • 1 cup of packed torn kale
  • 1 can of diced chili tomatoes (you can use standard but add 1 tbsp of chili powder)
  • 1 envelope of taco mix
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef.
  2. Remove ground beef from pan and set aside. Put in vegetables in fat from beef and cook the veggies until still a little crispy.
  3. Add tomatoes and taco mix and stir until well blended.
  4. Add back the meat. Simmer on low heat.
  5. In another pot, cook pasta as per instructions on the box.
  6. Drain pasta once cooked, put back in pot and add the beef and vegetable mixture. Stir to coat completely.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 338
  • Fat 7.2 g
  • Sugar 4.3 g
  • Carbohydrates 50.2 g
  • Protein 20 g
  • Fibre 3.5 g

This is a quick meal. It is colourful. Nutritious. And most of all fun. If there are other veggies you’d rather, put them in. You can add jalapeño if you want spicy. You can sprinkle cheese on it if you want more of the taco feel to it. Serve it with a salad and you have a complete meal for 8. Remember have fun and make it your own.

Stovetop Apple Pie Filling

Stovetop Apple Pie Filling

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Who hasn’t gone to the store and bought apples that looked so great and by the end of the week, oops, that was too many. I know I have, more than once. I hate wasting food. Too many people go hungry everyday for us to waste good food. I do my best to extend the life of food. Here is an easy recipe that is delicious, quick, and versatile.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 medium apples
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • 2 tbsp of butter (salted)
  • 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbsp of Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Peel, core and slice apples.
  2. Melt butter with cinnamon over medium heat.
  3. Add apples, sugar and water.
  4. Cover and cook stirring occasionally for 4-6 minutes, or until slightly softened. 
  5. In a small dish, combine cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water.
  6. Add to the pan and bring to boil and stir until thickened.
  7. Let bubble 1 minute.
  8. Let cool.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 88
  • Fat 1.9 g
  • Sugar 16.1 g
  • Carbohydrates 18.8 g
  • Protein 0 g
  • Fibre 2.6 g

This is the equivalent of 1 can of apple pie filling. This recipe is so versatile, you will buy extra apples just to make this. You can use it as a topper on oatmeal, yogourt, ice cream, add a bit of granola and it becomes a great snack, or heck you can use it in a pie crust too. So many possibilities for you to have fun and make it your own.

Sunflower and Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread

Sunflower and Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread

  • Servings: 8-10 of 60 grams or 2 slices of 2 ounces each
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I started with white bread, moved up to whole wheat and now I’ve graduated to healthy multigrain bread. I’m having fun with bread. Who knew that making bread that you don’t need to kneed would be fun.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups of water (120-130 degrees Fahrenheit or 50-55 Celsius)
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup of flax seeds (whole)
  • Vegetable oil spray

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast together. At this time you can add the sunflower and flax seeds and stir them around a bit.
  2. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix in until it’s all incorporated.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 20 hours.
  4. After rise time, spray an 18×12 inch sheet of parchment paper on counter with vegetable spray. Set aside.
  5. On clean floured counter use your cupped hands to drag dough in small circles to form smooth ball.
  6. Preheat oven at 425 and place dutch oven as your oven heats up (approximately 10 min)
  7. Transfer ball to centre of greased parchment sheet. Use parchment to lower dough into Dutch oven (let extra parchment hang over pot edges) Cover pot with lid and put back in oven for 30 minutes
  8. Remove lid and put back in until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Place on cooling rack to cool.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 213
  • Fat 0.374 g
  • Sugar 0.31 g
  • Carbohydrates 39.21 g
  • Protein 7.57 g
  • Fibre 5.1 g

Trick for yeast, make sure your water is hot enough but not too hot. Yeast is a living organism. Also got to find out that one of my issues with yeast was that I stored it in the cupboard next to the stove. Guess what, big mistake. I was killing it with the heat. Lessons learned.

Making this bread reminded me that with patience anything in the kitchen can be conquered. Seriously, this bread is so easy to make and it is good too. You add other seeds, just make sure to keep that in calorie count. I’m open to suggestions so help me with this. Have fun and make it your own.