Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole

Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole

  • Difficulty: Easy
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I take recipes and modify them for personal tastes, dietary demands and such. Sometimes it’s just ‘cause I want to have fun with the recipe. That is why I encourage you to modify to your tastes, and remember to try something new.


  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 garlic clove minced
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 large sweet green peppers chopped
  • 1 large sweet red pepper chopped
  • 1.5 cups of white rice
  • 2 cups of cooked red kidney beans (I prepare my own ahead of time and freeze them, if you use canned make sure to rinse and it would be approximately 1.5 cans of 28 oz/796 ml)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes 28 oz/796 ml
  • 2 tbsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (oh, i really added 2 but shush)
  • 1 cup of low-fat shredded low fat mozzarella cheese


  1. In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms and peppers. Stir often until onion is tender about 10 minutes.
  2. Add rice, beans, tomatoes, spices and water, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
  3. During that time preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Sprinkle cheese and bake for 15 minutes or so until the cheese melts.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calorie 380
  • Fat 6.5 g
  • Carb 64.2 g
  • Sugar 7.3 g
  • Fiber 9.0 g
  • Protein 17.1g

As you see I prefer to cook my own kidney beans, you can soak them overnight and cook them for approximately 90 minutes. I don’t add salt. I rinse them thus giving less gas.

If you are diabetic, this is not a recommended recipe as is, as your carb intake should be 45-60 so this is a little high. But if you interested, I can supply a lower glycemic version with less rice and more kidney beans. Kidney beans can be of help to reduce your sugar spike due to its low carb and high fibre. Just let me know.

Now you have to have a few more veggies with this, I would recommend a nice salad to go with this. I like spicy so I am very generous with cayenne. You can spice it up or down. That’s up to you. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

  • Servings: 48 Cookies
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Cookies are made to be fun. We all know they are an indulgence. No one can say, “I will die if I don’t have a cookie” but we all know we want one. Who says that cookies can’t be good and good for you. Below is a recipe that is fun and tastes good. In the notes below you will see modifications for lighter cookies and fat free reduced cookies. I will even give you the breakdown on the nutritional value differences. The first part is the full-on recipe.


  • 2.5 cups of all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extra
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar (icing sugar)


  1. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Beat sugar and butter with mixer on medium high speed, then blend in pumpkin, egg and vanilla until incorporated.
  3. Gradually mix in flour and dry ingredients.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 3-4 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non stick baking spray.
  7. Scoop dough into one inch balls. (I use a small 2 ounce scoop, works well, worth the money) Roll in icing sugar, place dough balls on baking sheet.
  8. Bake for roughly 12 minutes.
  9. Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack. When completely cool, store cookies in an airtight container. On the counter they will keep 3-4 days, in fridge for about a week.

Nutrition Per Cookie

  • Calorie 69
  • Fat 2.45 g
  • Carb 11.8 g
  • Sugar 6.4 g
  • Fiber 0.4 g
  • Protein 1.4g

That is the full version, full fat, full sugar. Still not bad 2 cookies is only 140 cals. And they are good source of vit A.

Now if you omit rolling them in icing sugar, you reduce, per cookie, the calories by 8.1, the carbs by 2.1 and the sugar by 2.1. Now for the reduced calorie and fat but leaving in the icing sugar. Omit the butter and replace with same quantity of unsweetened apple sauce. Cook for 1 minute less.

Nutrition Per Cookie

  • Calorie 53
  • Fat 0.5 g
  • Carb 11.8 g
  • Sugar 6.4 g
  • Fiber 0.4 g
  • Protein 1.4g

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8 good size servings. Can be stretched to 12.
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I like pumpkin, I like cheesecake. Why wouldn’t they be good together? My better half doesn’t mind pumpkin as long as it’s not overwhelming. Well this recipe fits the bill. I’ve modified the original recipe to reduce calories and fat.


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 packages of light cream cheese (500g total, or 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl mix the graham crackers and applesauce until well moistened. Then put in a 9’’ pie plate. Press out evenly. If you press too hard the crust will be very tough.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until well creamed.
  4. In a smaller bowl, take 1 cup of the cream cheese mixture and add pumpkin puree and cinnamon and mix well.
  5. Pour cream cheese batter into pie crust.
  6. Gently pour pumpkin batter over cream cheese batter.
  7. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes
  8. Refrigerate 3 hour or more before serving.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 out of 8 slices)

  • Calories 245
  • Sugar 21 g
  • Carbohydrates 27 g
  • Protein 5.9 g
  • Fiber 1.0 g
  • Fat 12 g

You really have to make sure that you serve this cold. This was well received. You can add a little cinnamon if you like or sub it for pumpkin spice. You can not use fat free cream cheese. It doesn’t cook as well. You can sprinkle some cinnamon on top if you like. Or if you want a little crunch, you can sprinkle brown sugar on over the top. Be careful for the calories and sugar content. If you don’t have concerns for either have fun and make it your own.

Rice Pudding Made Light

Rice Pudding Made Light

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I love rice pudding, but with anywhere between 250-300 calories per serving, my waist was not liking rice pudding. I used a recipe from a friend and modified it to make this lighter version of her famous rice pudding.


  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1-3/4 cups of water
  • 1-1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of raisins


  1. In a small stock pot, put water and rice and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed.
  2. Add 1-1/2 cups of the milk and sugar, and cook over medium low until thick and creamy. Some liquid must remain or it will be too thick. This should take about 20 minutes. Stir frequently.
  3. During that time, beat the egg and temper with the remaining 1/2 cup of warm almond milk. Add the raisins and vanilla to the mixture.
  4. Once rice is at desired consistency, add egg mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Put in 8 ramkin bowls or dessert dishes that can be reheated in micro.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 160
  • Fat 1.3 g
  • Sugar 13.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 38.2 g
  • Protein 3.9 g
  • Fiber 1.0 g

Hint: Tempering an egg is the process of beating an egg and adding a warm liquid a little at a time so the egg does not cook. If you were to drop the beaten egg right into the rice mixture you might have an omelet start to form.

Using unsweetened almond milk keeps the pudding creamy without the fat of whole milk. If you use skim milk it will be watery. Besides almond milk has less calories than skim milk. The calorie count listed is with raisins but if you don’t like raisins you can omit or sub for dried cranberries. Be careful which dried fruit you use as some are excessively high in sugar. This is best served warm.

My first attempt was way too thick so I added about a tablespoon or two of almond milk when I reheated them in the micro. For those who like something sweeter, you can serve with a 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup but if you are counting calories remember that those are extra, put a little less raisins and you should be fine.

You can dress them up with fresh berries. You can even make this healthier by using brown rice. Have fun and make it your own.

If you want to make this into a vegetable sauce, because you have green peppers growing and need to find another use for them, you can add them, including celery, or any veggie you wish. Have fun and make it your own. If you have suggestions, let me know. I like trying new things too.

Country Biscuits

Country Biscuits

  • Servings: 12-15 biscuits
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I like biscuits, and who doesn’t, but I had never made them. I asked a friend if I could have her recipe. When I looked it over, I asked, no baking soda? Well, I don’t think I could have upset her more if I tried. “Are you making soda biscuits or country biscuits?” Since these are country biscuits, take heed no baking soda. I’ll never make that mistake again. I modified it a little to reduce the fat and calorie intake. These are easy to make and are delicious.


  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup of melted low sodium low fat margarine
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1-3 tbsp of sugar (depending on how sweet you like them) I used 1 tbsp


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl mix dry ingredients.
  3. Add milk and melted margarine. Stir until moistened. Do not over mix. (best to let the margarine cool a bit before adding)
  4. Immediately drop by heaping tablespoons onto lightly greased or parchment paper lined large cookie sheet.
  5. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until edges turn golden brown.

Nutrition Per Serving, 1 biscuit

  • Calories 97
  • Sugar 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates 17.2 g
  • Protein 2.2 g
  • Fiber 0.5 g
  • Fat 3.6 g

You can serve these with your main course hot with butter or plain. You can serve them at breakfast with jam or preserves. You can have them plain with stew or soups or any way which way you please. Have fun and make them your own, but remember these are country biscuits.

Lemon Vegetable Linguini with Salmon

Lemon Vegetable Linguini with Salmon

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A meal that looks good is always a sure way to make mouths water. The prep in this one is what makes the difference. I chop everything ahead of time because once you start cooking all three things cook at the same time. Multitasking is an asset here.

Ingredients bowl 1

  • 1 large onion chopped

Ingredients bowl 2

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients bowl 3

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 green pepper coarsely chopped
  • 1 red pepper coarsely chopped
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest


  • 1 lb of linguini pasta
  • 1 1/2 lbs of salmon filet
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Parsley florets


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place fish on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put one tablespoon of lemon juice with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes. No longer.
  2. AT THE SAME TIME, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta per package directions.
  3. AT THE SAME TIME, heat oil in 6qt stock pot over high heat. Put in onion and lower to medium high.
  4. Once onion is softened, add bowl 3, cover and reduce heat to medium. Over the next 10 minutes stir occasionally.
  5. When spinach has reduced and peppers are a little tender add bowl 2 mix until heated through.
  6. Place pasta on serving platter. Top with vegetables. Remove the skin from the salmon and cut into serving sizes. I use 4 ounces per person. Add a floret for parsley on each salmon filet.

Nutrition Per Serving, 1 biscuit

  • Calories 546
  • Fat 14 g
  • Sugar 6 g
  • Carbohydrates 64 g
  • Protein 36 g
  • Fibre 6.3 g

It can be quite intensive doing all three at once. If you choose to do something ahead of time the best one is pasta. If you choose to do so, once the pasta is cooked, spray some cooking spray throughout so the pasta does not stick together. Just reheat before putting on platter. This has a very nice presentation. It’s relatively quick to make if the chopping is all done ahead of time, thus giving you time with your guests. Change the pasta, you can add kale, more lemon, less lemon, you can add some cayenne if you want some heat. Have fun and make it your own.

Corn and Blueberry Muffins

Corn and Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Who doesn’t like blueberry muffins? If you are diabetic, you are allowed between 10-25 grams of carbs per snack. Depending how well you have been doing all day. This is at the high end of 26. It can be treat on a day you have been doing well. For calorie conscious it is only 158 calories per muffin. If you calculate that a standard fast food muffin contains an average of 400 calories, this is a good alternative.


  • 1 cup buttermilk (low fat) see below if you can’t find any at grocery store
  • 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of corn meal
  • 6 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of grated lemon zest (approx. 2 lemons)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin tin with either paper liners or silicone liners
  2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, 5 of the tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently incorporate the blueberries.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk, buttermilk, oil, egg and lemon zest together.
  4. Add to the dry ingredients gently, just enough to mix and wet the dry ingredients. Do not over beat as you will release too much of the gluten and they muffins will become heavy.
  5. Using an ice-cream scoop (I love this trick) scoop into a lined muffin tin. Should fill just about to the top. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of sugar over top of muffins
  6. Place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes

Nutrition Per Serving, 1 muffin

  • Calories 158
  • Sugar 19 g
  • Carbohydrates 26 g
  • Protein 3 g
  • Fiber 1 g
  • Fat 4 g

If you can not find low fat buttermilk use 1 cup of skim milk and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. This will make the milk sour but it is a good a replacement for buttermilk. I do this all the time.

You can serve them with butter, jam, or peanut butter. Personally I prefer them plain. But they are your muffins so remember to have fun and make it your own.

Spicy Baked Chicken with Tomato Salsa

Spicy Baked Chicken with Tomato Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Summer time is here and we often look for something to bring on picnics that are not sandwiches. This is one of those things you can bring that makes for a nice change of pace.


  • 2 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 of minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs of skinless chicken pieces, be it breasts and thighs

Salsa Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small nonstick skillet, toast chilli powder, cumin, paprika and turmeric over medium heat for about 20 seconds or until it begins to darken. Remove from heat. Stir in oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper, garlic, lemon juice and oil and brush over chicken.
  2. Arrange chicken on rimmed baking sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven, uncovered turns halfway through and basting twice with juices, for 30 to 40 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced.
  3. Tomato Salsa: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together tomato, coriander and salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with chicken.

Nutrition Per Serving, 6-8 ounces of chicken

  • Calories 260
  • Fat 10 g
  • Carbohydrates 6 g
  • Protein 37 g
  • Fiber 1 g

As I mentioned this is good cold but hot is good too. Served with fresh bread or some rice with an extra vegetable makes a nice dinner. You can make this spicier if you want. The side dish is your choosing. Depending what you are looking for is where you can have fun and make it your own.

Ginger Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Ginger Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This recipe is well balanced. You have your protein. You have your veggies. You get to decide how spicy you want it and you choose your starch.



  • 1 lb inside round beef
  • 2 tbsp of cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp of soya sauce
  • 1 tsp of hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 6 cups of broccoli pieces into bite size about 1 lb
  • 1 cup water


  1. In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch, 2 tbsp of soya sauce, hot pepper sauce and half the ginger. Stir in beef strips to coat and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Sauce: in a small bowl mix 1/2 cup of water, remaining cornstarch and soya sauce and set aside.
  3. In a wok, heat 1 tsp of oil over high heat and stir fry beef, in two batches until browned. Set aside.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining oil, stir-fry onion, garlic, and remaining ginger for 1 minute. Stir in broccoli and water. Cover and steam for 3 minutes.
  5. Return beef to the pan. Stir in sauce, bring to boil, stirring to coat beef well.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 273
  • Sugar 3.2 g
  • Carbohydrates 12.7 g
  • Protein 12.3 g
  • Fiber 2.8 g
  • Fat 20.6 g


This recipe is not overpowering in spice or very spicy. You can adjust as you need. This was the original recipe. I add about a teaspoon of crushed chilli peppers to step 1. Your starch is your choice. I served with 1/2 cup cooked rice but you could serve with a small tortilla or pasta or noodles. You can try it a different way every time. So have fun and make it your own.

Skillet Pork Curry with Apples

Skillet Pork Curry with Apples

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Pork is a very versatile and economic meat. Pork tenderloin is often readily available. If you don’t like pork, you can easily sub this with chicken or turkey breast.



  • 1 to 1-1/2 pork tenderloin
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 2 red skinned apples cored and cubed
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 1 cup of low fat plain yogourt
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts


  1. Slice meat into small coin sized pieces by cutting twice length wide the tenderloin and then again into coins
  2. Heat a little of the oil in a non stick skillet and brown the pork on high heat
  3. Reduce heat to medium low, add remaining oil, coriander, cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes stirring for about 1 minute. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add apples, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in pork. Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle flour over yogourt, add honey and mix well. Stir into pork mixture

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 320
  • Sugar 19.9 g
  • Carbohydrates 27 g
  • Protein 29.7 g
  • Fiber 3.8 g
  • Fat 11.4 g

This recipe is not overpowering in spice or very spicy. It’s is fine for most pallets. You can adjust as you need. The original recipe called for Chinese noodles, unfortunately those are extremely high in carbs. My suggestion would be over rice. A half cup of cooked rice is a good portion for a calorie reduced plan. Anything you chose, the key is portion size. Your choices are endless so have fun and make it your own.