Turkey Stuffed Eggplant

Turkey Stuffed Eggplant

My turkey stuffed eggplant is both hearty and nutritious. It’s filled with low-fat ground turkey and plenty of veggies including the pulp from the eggplant.

Scoop out eggplant pulp and reserve.There are plenty of advantages to incorporating eggplant into your meal plan.

  • No cholesterol
  • High in dietary fiber
  • Low in saturated fat
  • High in magnesium, niacin and potassium
  • Plenty of B6 and vitamin C

The addition of ground turkey adds about 12 grams of protein. Each stuffed half is under 200 calories which certainly gives this meal an A++ on my list. I added a spinach salad and slice of hard crusted French baguette and found the dish more than filling. If you insit on buttering your bread, use a light whipped butter or margarine. Grab the Recipe
 Pan searing the filling.

Tacos and a Backyard Relay

The unseasonably warm weather in Michigan continues. Heck, it was in the 80’s today. Snow or frost would normally be covering the ground.

It was taco dining on the deck last night.  Ground turkey, low fat cheddar, low fat taco sauce and low fat sour cream kept this taco meal in check (at least by Blimpy Girl’s standards).

I’m seizing every opportunity to enjoy this awesome weather; so, a post dinner relay race was planned.

Love those tacos, NeeNee!By the looks of Fischer’s plate (right), I ‘m thinking the taco meal was a hit. Now, time for the relay obstacle race!

The kids sized up the relay event before being blind folded. The Mission:  Place objects in their bags which included prizes such as “Get to see a big screen movie”, a “weekend lunch date with NeeNee and Poppy” and “5 extra minute back rub from Poppy”.

There were a few minor cheating issues with the blind fold, but we worked through the kinks.

Olivia running the obstacle course.Blue painter’s tape marked the course. Each obstacle required something be added to the bag. Let’s see… there were potatoes, spoons, pine cones, tea bags and carrot sticks.

The kids laughed, argued, encouraged and guided each other around the course. They spewed  venom in one breath, and embraced each other in the next.

 

Below is my little Fish trying to read (through a blindfold,~ of course, he can’t read) the prize he was awarded. He’s a happy camper and loves whatever prize he gets. So much like his Mommy, happy go-lucky!

I found it NeeNee!

I do admit to moments of living vicariously through my grand kids  This was one of them. I’ve learned more from my grand kids than my own (grown-up) life experiences.

Olivia guiding her big brother through the obstacle course.As we were winding down from the race and heading back to the house, the kids gave me big bear hugs. It ensured me they enjoyed the relay race adventure.

I can only hope they remember these Wednesday night events once I am gone. It’s what parents/grandparents strive for, creating moments that leave a life legacy to the next generation.

 

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Spinach Lasagna Roll Up

Gooey cheese, fresh spinach…did I mention gooey cheese? Yes, it’s meatless, but I don’t think you will miss it. I made ten roll-ups last night and they have vanished. My family devoured them shortly after their oven departure. The feedback from the partakers is positive.

Spread the filling and roll.This meal can easily be prepared in advance. Cook the lasagna noodles, drain and let air dry on paper towels to remove all moisture. Roll up and store in a zip lock back until ready to use. They will keep in the fridge for several days.

The filling can be made in less than 15 minutes.  Baking time  for the roll-up is 35-40 minutes which allows time to prepare side dishes.

 Quite honestly, this is a stand-alone meal. If you want sides, I suggest hard crusted garlic bread and cooked asparagus tips drizzled with (good) olive oil. Serve the asparagus as the first course and lasagna/garlic bread as the second course. Give thought to how you plate each course, be creative. My post dinner choice: Biscotti and dark roasted coffee. Offer no-fat coffee flavorings as an option.

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

 

 

I will have the recipe posted this evening. Since the Blimpy Girl web site does not bring home the bacon, I have to rush off to my “real” job. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Grab Recipe

 

 

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Ready for the oven!

An Ice Cream Kind of Day

Good to the last lick!

When you live in Michigan and get a 70 degree day in March, you celebrate. The grand kids celebrated by making ice cream sundaes. Of course, is was fat-free ice cream and fat-free syrups, but they didn’t seem to mind. As you can see from the above picture, my youngest grand son licked every last drop from his dish.

What is ice cream without sprinkles…lots and lots of them? They became over ambitious when I left them alone to get the special sundae spoons. Most of the sprinkle containers were empty by the time I returned and the ice cream was swimming in a pool of strawberry and chocolate syrup.

The kids spent so much time decorating, the ice cream was melting.  The special sundae spoons were handy. The spoon end is removable and *presto*, you have a straw for sucking up all the melted goodness. Of course, licking the bowl like a dog is another option.

Sipping melted ice cream with a straw.

Blimpy Girl NeeNee is a smart cookie. I anticipated the aftermath of this decorating frenzy and taped white butcher paper to the table. Clean up was a breeze.

 The weather forecast for the next few days is sunny, low 80s. These record breaking temps are spoiling us Michiganders. I predict a “barbecuing kind of day” is on Blimpy Girls menu plan this week.

Over-the-Top Dinner Party!

An Old World table setting.The Old World table settings, Italian wines from the  Pasqua vineyards and five-course meal could have been the feature story in Bon Appetit. Conversation and laughter were plentiful, as was the wine.  I’m anxious to see the write up in Detroit Weekly.

Strawberries and ChampagneUpon entering the foyer, guests were greeted with Prosecco Champagne, fresh strawberries, hard crusted bread and a variety of aged cheeses. Not one detail was overlooked. The music, floral centerpieces, menu and overall ambiance was Italian themed.

Aged cheeses, olives and prosciutto.

It was an evening in the company of good friends, sampling incredible wines, consuming a five-course meal while enjoying beautiful weather. To sum it up, it was a “life is good” moment.

St. Paddy’s Five Course Dinner

Chef Mo's Dinner MenuCan’t think of a better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. No doubt, it wins over green beer and bar chips.

This is the menu for a dinner party the wine-guy and I are attending on Saturday. It’s a private affair at the home of our good friends, Michael (Chef MO) and Renae. Riccardo Pasqua, owner of  Pasqua Winery in Verona, Italy, will be a guest. His family wines are being paired with the menu.

The Pasqua Family
The Pasqua Family. Riccardo is third from left.

My husband and I had the pleasure of dining with Riccardo last night at Cinco Lagos. The restaurant’s chef, Joe Olson, prepared a four course dinner in true Italian style that showcased a number of Pasqua wine varietals. I’m generally not a white wine drinker but the Soave was excellent. Fresh, with plenty of citrus fruits and floral notes. If you’re a “newbie” to wine, this is the wine for you.

These four and five course dinners, all in the same week, are consuming my   “splurge” calorie reserve. Blimpy Girl will be hitting the walking trail next week! In the meantime, I look forward to indulging in

  • Beef Tenderloin Toast Points with Foie Gras Red Onion infused Marmalade
  • Bacon Wrapped Molasses Scallops in Molasses butter
  • Rack of Lamb with Gorgonzola stuffed Lamb Roast
  • Fresh Beet Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette, Shallots & Fried Cherre Goat Cheese
  • Apple Cobbler with fresh cream

Next week’s menu for me will be salad, salad, salad and more salad!

Apple Zucchini Crostini

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Apple Zucchini Crostini

I had the grand kids for the weekend and failed to put together a grocery list for the wine-guy. It’s been slim pickings in the pantry and fridge this week. I found hard crusted bread in the freezer (already sliced by my  honey-man). A lone zucchini and apple called out from the fruit/veggie bowl and a low murmur was heard from the fridge. I carefully opened the fridge door, and to my surprise, a container of goat cheese was crying “Pick me, Pick me”. So I did. My goal was to prepare a Tuesday lunch for my daughter.

 Ingredients for making CrostiniBimpy Girl’s brain was spinning with recipe ideas as I lined up all my chosen ingredients.  I paced the kitchen opening cupboard doors looking for inspiration. And then, I spotted an unopened bottle of Ornellaia Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Holy,-Shamoly!! Dare I open a $40 bottle of gifted olive oil without the consent of the wine guy? After all, it was gifted to him, not me. I threw caution to the wind. With a quick twist of the cap, I transferred ownership rights to ME (based on “what’s yours is mine” wedding vows).

Coat bread with olive oil.

My menu plan: Crostini (meaning “little toasts” in Italian) topped with sauteed apples, zucchini and goat cheese. It’s an appetizer worthy of adding to your recipe file. The toppings can vary, but that’s what I love about crostini. You can personalize it with your own topping selections.

The bread slices were coated with my newly claimed, VERY expensive olive oil. Brush both sides of the bread.

Slice apples and soak in lemon water until ready to use.Roughly chop apple and zucchini
Soak apple slices in lemon water if not preparing dish immediately. This will keep apples from browning.

Roughly chop the apple and zucchini and toss into a skillet coated with non-stick cooking oil. Saute over medium heat until slightly soften. You don’t want it soggy so keep a watchful eye and turn often. It shouldn’t take more than a minute to cook using medium heat.

Whip goat cheese with milk.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread on a cookie sheet (sprayed with non-stick cooing oil). Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and toast each side for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place the goat cheese into a mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of 2% milk. Whip with fork until nice and creamy.

Time to assemble. Place a spoonful of the apple/zucchini mixture onto each bread slice. Top with a dollop of whipped goat cheese and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

Crostini Toppings

The apple and zucchini are low in calories, but the olive oil and bread are not. Might to reserve this appetizer as a “weekend splurge” item. Pair two crostini with a baby spinach salad that includes apple slices and shredded zucchini. It’s a winning combination. I haven’t tallied the calories, but I’m guessing the salad and crostini is around 350 calories. I’ll let you know the exact count by week’s end.

Homemade Soup: A Staple Comfort Food

Homemade Soup: A Staple Comfort Food

Here in Michigan, the Winter season is starting to wind down. Hurrah!! But there is still enough chill in the air to warrant homemade soup. Sunday, at our house, is a day for cleaning out the fridge and vegetable bowl of food items that are on their last leg. This is the Chicken and Rice soup my honey-man simmered on the stove top to rescue this week’s near-death veggies.

The soup is nothing fancy, but definitely tasty. A combination of carrots, tomato, zucchini, rice, chicken stock, leftover white chicken meat (the kind in a can), celery, a little onion and a dash of this and that to enhance the overall flavors.

My favorite stock base is the Minor brand. There are plenty on the market, but 3/4 teaspoons of this concentrated base makes 1 cup of stock. It’s only 15 calories per cup with 5 fat calories. The down side (as with most concentrated stock bases) is the amount of sodium. I don’t use any additional salt when using this base.

 Minor's Concentrated Chicken BaseAdding “one foot in the grave” veggies and leftover meat to a soup stock is not only economical, but low-fat (in most cases) and yields high nutritional value.

Open the vegetable bins in your refrigerator and see what poor dying souls are calling your name.  Chop and dice to your heart’s content and throw everything into a simmering pot of stock.

 

Add a mixed green side salad, chunk of hard crusted bread and glass of vino to your soup du jour. While devouring the yumminess, picture yourself seated at an outdoor bistro overlooking the Seine river.  Imagine dunking bread in soup, sipping Rhone Valley wine while listening to the language of love (FRENCH).

Bon Appetit!!

 

Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant Lasagna with No Pasta

What an incredible dish. Eggplant Parmesan lasagna minus the pasta. It’s filled with vegetable goodies and yummy cheese. What’s not to like?

This recipe makes a 9 x 12 dish that serves twelve. Each serving is in the neighborhood of 135 calories. Complement this delicious, low-fat dish with toasted garlic bread and a mixed green salad. Grab Recipe

Dollops of Ricotta Cheese

Dollops of low-fat ricotta cheese bring added flavor.

Grab Recipe

Ready for the oven.

On the Fly Cheese Taco

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On the Fly Cheese Taco

There are those hectic work days when finding time to prepare a healthy lunch seems impossible. Yesterday was one of those days and Blimpy Girl needed an On the Fly meal. My stomach was screaming for lunch and avoiding the Cheez-it box in the pantry was a battle of wills. Prying my hands from the pantry door, I embarked on a refrigerator scavenger hunt. I did a quick panoramic assessment of the shelves and decided on a cheese taco.

I discovered a tomato in need of rescue, a green onion tortilla shell, low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, baby spinach leaves and banana pepper rings. Perfect! A meatless, cheese taco I could whip up in under 5 minutes.

How To

Sprinkle low-fat cheddar cheese on tortilla shell and heat in microwave until cheese melts (it will only take about 30 seconds). Remove tortilla from microwave. Add chopped spinach, chopped tomatoes, salsa and banana pepper rings. It’s optional, but a dollop of low-fat sour cream is yummy.

This On the Fly cheese taco is in the neighborhood of 87 calories (and that’s with 1 tablespoon of low-fat sour cream).  If your tummy is begging for meat (protein), add 2 tablespoons of canned white chicken breast (drained). It adds an additional 50 calories. Two of these cheese tacos (with chicken) is just 274 calories.