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.

Ingredients

  • 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.

Orzo Veggie Cheese Medley

Orzo Veggie Cheese Medley

I attended a birthday dinner that included both kids and adults. Many adults were counting calories, or on a healthy eating plan. I wasn’t sure what food dish to bring with such a mixed crowd. This orzo vegetable medley seemed to fit the bill. It is healthy and has enough cheese to make little peeps happy. One serving is a mere 159 calories. Add chopped chicken and you’re still under 200 calories.

I had no recipe to follow. It’s what I call a “seek and find” dish. Seek out ingredients you have on hand and find a way to use them. The dish received rave reviews from the party-goers. The apples give a hint of sweetness to the vegetable medley.

Vegetable Medley with Orzo, Cheese and Apple

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cooked orzo (it will make about 1 3/4 cups once cooked)
  • 1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk, or skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 1 1/2 medium size apples, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup snow peas, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and chopped
  • 4 ounces reduced fat Velvetta cheese
  • 1/4 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
    The apples add a hint of sweetness.

    How To

Spray a 9 x 11 inch baking dish with non-sticking cooking spray. Add  broccoli, pea pods, onion and zucchini to pan.

In a medium size sauce pan add soup, milk and water. Blend until smooth. Incorporate the cooked orzo and reduced-fat Velvetta cheese. Heat on stove top until cheese in melted. Remove from heat.

Pour the soup mixture over the vegetables. Using a spoon, gently coat all the veggies. Evenly distribute the apples on the top and finish off the dish by sprinkling the cheddar cheese over apples.

Baked in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Best served warm, but leftover portions can be reheated in microwave. Makes 10 side dish portions. In the neighborhood of 159 calories per serving. If you add canned chicken breast meat, you add 20 additional calories. A six-ounce boneless chicken breast (cooked and chopped) adds 25 calories to each serving.

Optional:

Cream of mushroom soup can be substituted for cream of chicken.

For an “all-in-one” dinner, add pre-cooked chicken pieces to top of medley once removed from oven.

 

 

 

Spinach-Zucchini Au Gratin

Baked Spinach-Zucchini Au Gratin

This vegetable dish is packed with plenty of garlicky taste. Bring along breath mints if having this for lunch or dinner. Of course, you can omit the garlic, if you like, but garlic is good for your health. Studies have shown that it relaxes the blood vessels and increases blood flow.

Mixture is ready for the oven.As usual, I’m always on the look-out for food that is reaching its life expectancy. My zucchini was nearing death so I resurrected it into a baked au gratin dish.

I haven’t tallied the calories yet, but I will do that soon. The bake will easily serve 8 people as a side dish. Pair with pan-seared boneless chicken breasts.

I wanted to use some turkey bacon in the dish, but discovered I had none. I used bacon bits instead which kept the calories in check. If weight is not an issue for you, go for the gusto! Use real bacon (about 3 slices, cooked and chopped).

 

Ingredients

Bake in oven for 40 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup egg mates (or 3 eggs)
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (low-fat, if available)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese (the kind in a shaker can) for topping
  • 1-2 tablespoons bacon bits (or 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 How To

Place shredded zucchini in a colander. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of kosher salt. Place colander in sink and let set for 20 minutes. The salt will extract excess moisture from the zucchini. Pat zucchini dry and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add chopped spinach, parsley, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and garlic to the mixing bowl. Set aside.

If using bacon slices, add to skillet and cook until crispy. Add chopped onion and cook until tender. If using bacon bits, add olive oil to skillet and cook onion. 

Add onion and bacon to the zucchini mixture. Add eggs and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture into a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking oil. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese over the top.

Bake in 350 degree (F) oven for 35-40 minutes. Refrigerate if dish is not served immediately. If allow to cool completely, you can cut into squares and reheat in microwave. If served hot from the oven, the mixture will need to be spooned onto serving plates.

Serves 8 people.

 

 

Apple Sweet Potato Bake

Apple Sweet Potato Bake

Sometimes “yummy” just doesn’t do justice to a food dish. This is one of those cases. This dish is sweet but without the calories. One cup is only around 255 calories. I was barely able to finish the entire serving.

This was actually a side dish for the beef barley soup the Wine Guy made over the weekend. I’d love to share the soup recipe except every leftover in the fridge was tossed into the soup. Believe it or not, leftover Bloody Mary mix from New Years was added in place of the tomato sauce. I must say, the soup was incredible. However, it was the sweetness of the potato/apple dish that seized my taste buds.

Beef Barley Soup and Apple Sweet Potato Side Dish

The apples and sweet potatoes are cooked in a foil pack. Brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cranberries add just the right amount of sweetness. This dish would also work well over a bed of lettuce. Grab the Recipe