Category Archives: Sides

Summer Salad with Vinaigrette

This salad…is amazing!  I had a version of it while on vacation in Indy earlier this month.  Artisan lettuce (no iceberg) with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges, pecans, crumbled/cubed cheese, and grilled chicken.  Delicious!

Salads are wonderful for a variety of things…you can get seriously creative with them.  Fruits, nuts, cheeses, meats, etc.  Nothing is really “wrong” on a salad…with the exception of dressing.  Some people go crazy with dressing, and drown the flavor (and health value) out of a perfectly good salad.

I have been experimenting with creating everyday food items from scratch.  First up…vinaigrette.  Specifically the vinaigrette that accompanied this salad in Indy.  A poppyseed vinaigrette.  The waitress was nice enough to tell me it had these things included:

-poppyseeds (of course)
-wine vinegar
-red onion

She followed it up with, “It’s really quite simple to mix up.”  So, I did.  I did; however, switch up the sugar for honey (as noted by the *).  I used two different kinds of oil, olive and canola.  The dressing had a pink hue to it, so I figured she probably meant red wine vinegar.  Putting this dressing together took me all of five minutes…and it is delicious!  Best of all, I know *exactly* what is in it, and I know it is fresh!

What kinds of salads do you enjoy?  Have you ever made your own dressing?


Thursday Dinner

After a successful dinner on Wednesday, I was certainly up for another batch of new recipes on Thursday.  My family was excited.

We had mushroom cheese chicken, veggie cheese casserole, and oven roasted corn on the cob.  It was all absolutely delicious!

The chicken was tender and moist.  The cheesy filling was fabulous.

The veggie cheese casserole was quite different than any way I have ever prepared broccoli before.  My husband and chicklets loved it, though!  This shot was taken before I put it in the oven.

As it baked, it had the best aroma.  Mixed with the smell of the chicken baking, my house smelled wonderful.  When the casserole came out of the oven it looked amazing.  The parmesan cheese had melted and the top was a light golden brown.  My chicklets called it broccoli cake.

We had quite a bit of the casserole left over (as you can see), so I would probably cut this recipe in half next time to avoid having to store so much of it.

Unfortunately, I never remembered to take any pictures of the corn (before or after baking).  That is a shame, I will say, because it was beautiful.  The green of the cilantro against the bright yellow and white looked incredible – and it was so yummy.


4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c reduced-fat plain yogurt
1/2 c shredded aprt-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 c canned mushroom stems and pieces
1 Tbsp diced pimientos
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp minced chives

1 Tbsp reduced-fat plain yogurt
1 Tbsp dry bread crumbs
1/8 tsp paprika

Flatten chicken to 1/8-inch thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, combine the flour and yogurt until smooth.  Stir in the cheese, mushrooms, pimientos, parsley, and chives.  Spread down the center of each piece of chicken.  Roll up and tuck in ends; secure with toothpicks.  Place seam side down in an 11 X 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Brush yogurt over chicken.  Combine bread crumbs and paprika; sprinkle over the top.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.  Discard toothpicks before serving.

Here’s the dirt:
4 servings

222 calories
5 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
92 mg cholesterol
544 mg sodium
4 g carbs
trace fiber
39 g protein



3 c frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1/2 c  reduced-fat biscuit/baking mix
1 c reduced-fat sour cream
1 c reduced-fat cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1 large tomato, thinly sliced and halved
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange the broccoli in a greased 8-inch square baking pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the biscuit mix, sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs, butter, and salt; pour over the broccoli.  Arrange tomato slices over the top; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Here’s the dirt:
9 servings

158 calories
9 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
72 mg cholesterol
354 mg sodium
10 g carbs
1 g fiber
8 g protein



2 Tbsp finey chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
4 ears of corn, shucked

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Tear off 4 (12-inch square) sheets of heavy-duty foil.

In a shallow bowl, combine the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and water.  Roll the corn in the cilantro oil, then place on the foil; brush with any remaining cilantro oil.  Wrap the foil around the corn securely, then place directly on an oven rack.  Bake, turning occasionally, until tender (about 25 minutes).

Here’s the dirt:
4 servings

109 calories
4 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g Trans fat)
0 mg cholesterol
14 mg sodium
18 g carbs
3 g fiber
3 g protein
3 mg calcium


Wednesday Dinner

Remember my little goal this week to try new recipes and post pictures of my adventures?  Well, here they come…

Wednesday night we had braised pork chops, zucchini tomato toss, and corn potato pancakes (well, almost).  The dinner was fabulous, if I do say so myself (and my husband agreed).  Eating healthy certainly has its benefits.  The entire meal was only 400 calories, and we all left the table satisfied (but not over-stuffed).

Here are the ingredients for the zucchini tomato toss.  They look amazing, don’t they?  I love the bright greens and purple against the red.  Beautiful.

The aroma of this cooking was phenomenal, honestly.  Everyone started flocking to the kitchen to see what I was whipping up.  There was none of this left after dinner either.

Here is the beginning of the corn potato pancakes.  I made my own mashed potatoes from scratch – yummy.

The next step was to add the rest of the ingredients for the pancakes.  Fresh parsley, cream style corn, flour, egg, onion…it all smelled so good.

Well, here they are in the skillet.  Unfortunately, they never made it out of the skillet (not in the proper form anyway).  I could not get the pancakes to stay in pancake form.  Every time I went to flip them they just fell apart and behaved, well, like mashed potatoes.  So, instead of throwing away all the “batter” I ended up throwing it all in the pan and cooking it that way.  When they changed in consistency (a little thicker, and less wet) I scooped them up and served them as mashed potatoes.  Apparently, I went wrong somewhere.  If anyone has tried this recipe, or any other potato pancake recipe please share your words of wisdom.

Here are the braised pork chops sizzling away in the skillet.  The flavor was amazing, but I will admit they were a little dry for my taste (and my husband’s).  The next time I prepare these I will tweak it a little to make the meat a little more moist.

Overall, though, we had an amazing dinner.  Even my chicklets loved everything.

Here are the recipes:


1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I doubled this)
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
2 small plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (I cut 3 tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

In a nonstick skillet, saute green pepper, zucchini, onion, and garlic in oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until heated through.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Here’s the dirt:
2 servings (more if you add extra zucchini and tomato)

59 calories
3 g fat (trace saturated fat)
0 g cholesterol
597 mg sodium
9 g carbs
3 g fiber
2 g protein



1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 bone-in pork loin chops (6 ounces each)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. water
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth

Combine seasonings; sprinkle over chops.  In a nonstick skillet, cook chops in oil until browned on both sides.  Add water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender.  Remove meat and keep warm.  Combine cornstarch and broth until smooth; stir into cooking juices.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serve over chops.

Here’s the dirt:
4 servings (1 chop with 2 Tbsp of gravy)

180 calories
9 g fat (3 g saturated fat)
67 mg cholesterol
83 mg sodium
1 g carbs
trace fiber
23 g protein


Corn Potato Pancakes

This is a recipe I have not tried yet, but I want to (and probably will this week).  It sounds yummy, and I am pretty sure my chicklets would love them.


2 c. mashed potatoes (with added milk and butter)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. cream-style corn
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp pepper
6 tsp vegetable oil, divided

1. In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp oil; drop four 1/4 cupfuls of batter into skillet.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining oil and batter.

Here’s the dirt:
About 6 servings (2 pancakes per serving)

160 calories
8 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
43 mg cholesterol
461 mg sodium
18 g carbs
1 g fiber
3 g protein


Parmesan Tomatoes

This is a delicious side that goes with just about any entree.


3 large tomatoes
1 Tbsp chicken bouillion granules
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter

1. Remove stems from tomatoes; cut in half widthwise.  Place cut side up in an 11 X 7″ baking dish coated with cooking spray.

2. Sprinkle with bouillion and Parmesan cheese; dot with butter.  Bake, uncovered, at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

Here’s the dirt:
6 servings

54 calories
3 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat)
8 mg. cholesterol
510 mg. sodium
5 g. carbs
1 g. fiber
2 g. protein