Honey Mustard Chicken with Apples

IMG_1698I am trying to use up food before our trip to Italy. I had a couple of chicken breasts that I had thawed a few days earlier but never used. With the grand-kids coming for the night, this was a perfect opportunity to cook them.

There were a couple of apples that were in need of rescue, so I nabbed one to use with the chicken. This is the final results of my food rescue mission. Needless to say, the grand-kids weren’t big fans because of the cooked apples. That’s craziness to me since they like apple pie.

Personally, I would have used rice rather than noodles, but since the kids don’t like rice, I added pasta. The honey mustard sauce gives offers tang and the apples a sweetness which is a perfect blend when paired with the chicken.


  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 large skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive  oil
  • 2/3 flour for coating chicken pieces
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large apple, cut into cubes (leave on skin)
  • 1 small zucchini, peeled and shredded
  • Parsley to garnish (optional)
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta or rice


  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour-coated cubed chicken and saute until lightly browned, then add the cubed apples and shredded zucchini.
  2. While the chicken mixture continues to cook, combine apple juice, cornstarch, honey mustard, honey and salt/pepper in a bowl. Add to the skillet.
  3. Let simmer for about one minute before adding the chicken broth.
  4. Turn heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. Additional chicken broth can be added if the sauce seems too thick.
  5. While chicken simmers, cook the rice.
  6. Serve the chicken and apple sauce over rice and garnish with fresh parsley.
IMG_1690 This dish generously serves four. If served with 1/2 cup rice it is in the neighborhood of 461 calories.Suggested side dishes include steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus or garden fresh steamed green beans.Suggested wine selections: Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir

Palm of Heart Artichoke Salad Plate


This 150 calorie salad is not only healthy, but also very low in fat. It contains artichoke hearts marinated in oil, sliced hearts of palm (in water), low fat cottage cheese on a bed of lettuce and one halved tomato slice. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

Costco has an incredible selection of hearts of palm and artichoke hearts that are ready to serve right out of the jar. This tasty salad contains a good portion of vitamin C, zero cholesterol and can be served in a matter of minutes.

Consider adding chopped white or green asparagus tips for additional color. These too are available at Costco in ready-to-serve jars.

This salad is a perfect addition to a main course of spaghetti or lasagna. Red leaf lettuce can also be substituted for the bib lettuce.


Mexican Pizza that Rocks


I am a sucker for Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza. That is now history. MY MEXICAN PIZZA rocks and I’m booting Taco Bell out the door.

Not only is this an easy dish to make (and filling), it is rather low in calories. The biggest calorie binge is the cheese, but even that can be purchased low-fat. The other thing I love-love about this meal is the portion size. You can make it a meal or make it an appetizer.

Mexican PizzaIngredients

  • (2) nine-inch flour tortillas
  • 2 cups Mexican mixed low-fat shredded cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped calamari olives
  • 1/2 cup refried beans in can
  • (1) medium tomato chopped
  • 1 cup heated crumbled Boco burger meat
  • 1/2 packet dried taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/2 cup minced sweet onion (add to the Boco burger)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


How To

Place two tortillas onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Spread each tortilla with a layer of refried beans, burger and salsa.

Place a second flour tortilla on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees.


Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then add a layer of salsa, cheese, green onion, black olives and tomatoes.

Return to oven and cook for another 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing into quarter sections.



5 Minute, 200 Calorie Lunch

It’s been one of those weeks and it’s not over yet. It’s only Wednesday. If there was bad news to be delivered, it arrived on my doorstep. A software crash at work, $700 plus to fix it, one day of lost business data, customer shipping errors, my assistant is off sick and so on and so on. So cooking has been about the last thing I want to do.

But, since eating is necessary to sustain my get-up and go, I had to get up and go to the kitchen to make meals. Today’s lunch took 5 minutes to prepare and another 5 minutes to shovel into my mouth. All 200 calories of it.

A lightly toasted thin bagel slathered with honey mustard, three slices of ultra thin sliced deli ham (Hillshire brand, 99% fat-free) and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese. I popped it in the microwave until the cheese melted, added mixed greens and I was good to go. Oh yah, let’s not forget the three large strawberries on the side.

For quick and easy, it was actually a pretty good sandwich that was filling and low in calories. Make this an open face sandwich and you will cut 65 calories. Add a tomato slice in place of the top layer of bread.

Thinking Outside the Bun Hot Dog Lunch

It’s been a mad house around here since the holidays. Just getting the Christmas decorations put away has taken nearly a month. As for cooking, there’s been very little of it. I have relied upon take-out dinners and soup lunches. Since today is Valentine’s Day, I am renewing my love affair with Blimpy Girl meals and focusing on getting back into my normal eating groove. The holiday grazing has come to an end.

This out-of-the-bun hot dog was today’s lunch. Make a lengthwise slit in a turkey dog (98% fat-free), fill the slit area with small chunks of Velvetta cheese (1/2 ounce) and top with diced onion. Microwave the dog until cheese melts. Plate cooked hot dog and garnish with sweet relish and mustard. It’s a 100 calorie hot dog.

If you can’t eat a hot dog without fries, try these oven-baked red skin fries. Here’s how:

  • 4 red skin potatoes (don’t bother peeling)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a broiler pan with a wire rack to keep air circulating around the potatoes while they bake.

Wash and cut the potatoes into wedges. Mix the oil/seasoning to a large bowl and thoroughly coat the potatoes. Layer the wedges on the wire rack (single layer) and bake in oven for 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes and cook an additional 8 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

The above recipe serves four. Calories per serving are in the neighborhood of 170. Potatoes are a “filler” food. The carbs help your tummy fill full which means you eat less.Say bye-bye to the ketchup. If you can’t live without a dipping sauce, use low-fat ranch.

The final verdict: An under 300 calories meal with a serving of the baked fries.



Bunyan Backwoods Bologna Breakfast

I’m not certain who cooked it, where it was  or even when it was, but I vividly remember the taste of fried bologna sandwiches as a kid. It would blacken in the cast-iron skillet while pan-searing. Oh so crispy, and oh so good. Where am I heading with this?

Fried BolognaWell…the other night I spotted a package of bologna in the fridge. It was purchased to make sandwiches for the grandkids. Unfortunately, they aren’t nuts about bologna and I wasn’t going to waste an entire package of bologna. A revised game plan was needed.

Fried bologna, fried potatoes and fried eggs dance around in my head (not really, but I just wanted to say it). This is a campfire breakfast. Something Paul Bunyan might have eaten before cutting down an entire forest. Hence, the name Bunyan Backwoods Breakfast. At least that’s the story I’m sticking to. My end results proved worthy of the idea and effort. Even the wine guy had a helping (or two).

 I use dehydrated hash browns (you add hot water and soak 10-12 minutes before cooking) and add freshly diced onion. Once the hashbrowns were a nice golden brown 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar was added and topped with 3 eggs.

Season with salt and pepper. Place a cover over the skillet and kick up the stove top heat to ensure the eggs cook through.

You can also cook the fried eggs separately. Plate hashbrowns and top with pre-cooked fried eggs.

Or, how about an egg scramble? Beat 3 eggs just as you would for scrambled eggs. Mix into hash browns and cook until the eggs are a nice yellow color, flipping or stirring halfway through.

Whatever egg variation used, the key ingredient is the blackened bologna. If you seek something leaner and lower in calories, consider turkey bologna.

A number of ingredients can be added to this dish. I selected chopped tomato and fresh spinach leaves as my garnish. But, banana pepper rings, diced red pepper or sliced mushrooms are other options.

Serving size is 1 cup of potato/egg mix plus (1) slice of fried bologna. It generously serves three and is in the neighborhood of 350 calories. Substituting low-fat cheddar cheese (I used 1/2 cup of cheese) and reduced-fat turkey bologna will bring the caloric intake down to 300.

Use non-stick cooking spray to cook the potatoes and pan-sear the bologna. Reserve the cherished olive oil for dishes where it really makes a difference in taste. This isn’t one of those meals (my opinion).

Roasted Veggies on Baquette Slices

Roasted Vegetables on a Baguette

I opened the freezer and spotted a package of baquette slices ready to strut their stuff. They were like a wardrobe piece in your closet that cries out, “Use me, use me, dress me up.” And, so I did. I tend to seek out the failing fruit, veggies and pantry items when making a dish. With my busy life, I unintentionally ignore food items until they are near death.

As usual, I was in starvation mode and wanted something quick & easy to keep my growling hunger under wraps and prevent me from launching into hunger attack mode.

Brush olive oil onto the baquette slices


  • French baguette, sliced into serving sizes
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 Yellow or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, roughly chop 1 cup and reserve the remaining leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan Reggiano or crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup diced tomato

How To

Place all the chopped/diced ingredients into a oven dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Bake at 350 degrees until ingredients are cooked through (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside.

Brush baguette slices with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly distribute the veggie mixture Saute the veggies on low heat until cooked through.onto the top of each bread slice. Sprinkle bread slices with your choice of cheese.

Bake in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degree F. While this bakes, arrange reserved spinach leaves on a serving platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Arrange the baguette slices on top of the spinach leaves. Ten servings.

One serving is in the neighborhood of 150 calories. I could make a meal with two baguette slices and the bed of spinach/balsamic leaves. 


Avocado Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers

Avocado Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers

Summer is winding down here in Michigan and the excess from the vegetable garden is mounting. Tomatoes, cukes, peppers, squash and greens garnish every available counter space in the kitchen. Finding a purpose for these garden goodies (before they spoil) has become the primary focus of Blimpy Girl’s meal planning.

Red peppers are one of my favorites from the garden, especially when roasted. Stuffing them with avocado, tomato, garlic, onion and chopped spinach is a yummy variation and cleared some of the garden clutter from the kitchen. 

Top stuffed red peppers with cheese

Top the stuffed peppers with your choice of low-fat cheese. I happened to use mozzarella. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. I added sliced yellow squash to the roasting pan which paired perfectly with the peppers.

Roasted red peppers stuffed with avocado, spinach, tomato

Smash a slightly over ripe avocado, add diced tomato-onion-garlic (or you can use garlic powder), chopped spinach (or you can substitute with basil, or add both). Salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake.

Each pepper half makes one side serving. Serve with grilled chicken breast or beef tenderloin, even pasta is a main course option. So, let’s talk calories. This filling side dish is just under 100 calories per pepper half.

The best part is the addition of the avocado provides vitamins/minerals we often fail to incorporate into our diet… like copper, magnesium and vitamin B6.

Tea Sandwich: Avocado, Sprouts, Spinach,Tomato

Avocado, Sprouts & Tomato Tea Sandwich

Lately, I’ve been extremely busy at work and play. My “play” time has involved preparations for an upcoming wedding on Saturday. My gift to the bride-to-be is decorating the reception tables. It’s been fun, but sadly I’ve had little time to prepare a lunch. I’ve been digging into the Cheez-it box and all kinds of other high-calorie snacks and my scale was bearing witness to this naughtiness.

The bathroom scale is my constant companion. My morning weigh-in helps me keep my weight in check. I knew I had to find some easy-to-make lunch meals to prevent my pantry binging.  

Avocado and alfalfa sprouts sandwichThis tea sandwich took about 5 minutes. It was filling, yummy, nutritious and definitely better than snack foods.


  • Avocado slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Spreadable cream cheese (low-fat, if available)
  • 2 bread slices
  • Seedless cucumber slices

How To

Spread cream cheese onto each bread slice. Layer the spinach, alfalfa sprouts, avocado and tomato slices on one of the bread slices. Place second bread slice on top of the last sandwich layer.

Note: For a crustless sandwich, trim off the bread crust

Cut the sandwich diagonally into halves or thirds. Place a several cucumber slices on top of each tea sandwich and serve.


Stuffed Basil Tenderloin Croissant Appetizer

Stuffed Basil Tenderloin Croissant

This is a must try finger food. Pair it with a side dish of pasta or serve as appetizers. It’s super easy to make and takes about 12 minutes to bake in the oven.


  • Can of Pillsbury crescent rolls (reduced-fat, if possible)
  • Fresh basil leaves of generous size (about 12)
  • 3-4 ounce beef tenderloin (you can substitute beef with chicken). I personally like the beef flavor. Cut the meat into strips. Cook on stove top with garlic and onion until medium rare. Leave in pan until ready to use. The meat will continue to cook when the croissant is baked in the oven.
  • 2 tablespoons basil flavored olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 5 tablespoons marinara sauce
  • 1 zucchini (I added the leftover zucchini to a pasta sauce)
  • Garlic clove diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

Place zucchini slices, basil leave on crescent.

How To

Separate the crescent rolls and flattened slightly with palm of hand. Brush lightly with basil olive oil. Position basil leave and slices of zucchini onto the crescent dough (about a third of the way down from the longest point).

Place a strip of cooked tenderloin on the zucchini strips. Coat croissant with marinara sauce, chopped basil and a portion of the onion/garlic mixture used when cooking the meat.

Sprinkle with a layer of Parmesan cheese. Roll croissant dough into a crescent shape.

Repeat this process for all eight rolls.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick oil and bake the croissants for 12 minutes at 375 degrees.

Remove from oven and serve while warm. You get the best flavors if served warm. However, you can cook ahead and place in the fridge. Allow croissants to come to room temperature and serve. Quite honestly, these are good both hot and cold.

So what’s the caloric damage for one of these delicious, can’t eat just one, sandwich? Not as bad as you might think. One serving is 150 calories. You can eliminate 15 calories by using non-stick basil flavored cooking spray. Lightly coat the croissant dough with basil spray before adding the stuffing ingredients.

For my Vegan friends, here are a few ideas. Substitute the meat with blanched green beans, snap peas, fresh spinach leaves or Boca Italian meatless sausage links.