Ghoulish Deviled Eyeballs

I so despise making deviled eggs. No matter how many tips I read about peeling off the shell… none work! These eggs were no different. However, ghoulish deviled eggs were tops on my grandson’s Halloween camp out menu. Sooooooo #%&**, I made them.

I am going to pounce on the next person that brings perfectly formed deviled eggs to my next party. They will be imprisoned in my kitchen until they confess the secret to peeling the shell from an egg without injury.

There’s no real secret to making these eggs. Same recipe you would normally use to make your deviled eggs. Only exception is green food coloring is added to the yolks and red food coloring is added to mayo and piped onto the eggs for veins. A few black olive slices for the pupil and you’ve got yourself a ghoulish eyeball.

For the record, two deviled egg halves is around 93 calories. Not bad if you can stop eating after two. You can reduce calories by using low fat mayonnaise.

Chicken Cannellini Quesadillas

Chicken Cannellini Quesadillas

This week I had a follow-up visit with my medical doctor to review blood work. Sadly, it indicated high cholesterol. We all know the repercussions of elevated cholesterol levels and the OCD person I am, I immediately Googled foods that might help keep this “ugly beast” under wraps. My search led to me cannellini beans. 

Not only are these creamy white beans high in iron (twice the amount of red meat), they are also a great source of fiber. Fiber-rich diets help promote healthy cholesterol levels and lower cholesterol. And better yet, these beans are a plant-based alternative for protein.

I noted several recipes were using cannellini beans in place of pinto beans. So why not use them to make quesadillas?

This recipe makes approximately 5 cups of filling. Depending on how much filling is used in each tortilla, it’s possible to get up to 10 servings.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped and sprinkled with Montreal Steak Seasoning. You could also sprinkle with 1 tablespoon powdered quesadillas seasoning.
  • 1/2 cup banana pepper rings, chopped
  • 1 medium size red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (if using the powdered quesadillas seasoning, you won’t need the flour)
  • 4-5 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed (around 16 ounces)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4- 5 wedges of Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb cheese
  • Flour Tortillas, (low or reduced fat)
  • Non-stick olive oil cooking spray
  • Low fat sour cream (optional)
  • Avocado slices (optional)
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
  • Enchilada Sauce (optional). Drizzle on top of the quesadillas slices.

 

How To

In a large skillet, spray a generous amount of non-stick cooking spray. Add red pepper, banana peppers, garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until softened. Add seasonings to taste.

Sprinkle the flour or quesadillas seasoning over the sauteed veggies and mix well. Cook for an additional minute and then gradually add the chicken broth. Let this simmer until the mixture is smooth. Add spinach and cook until it begins to wilt. Stir in cooked chicken and cannellini beans. Gently mix ingredients and remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Spray a medium size skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly spread the garlic/herb Laughing Cow cheese onto each flour tortilla. Place a tortilla (open faced) in the skillet and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Add a portion of the chicken/bean filling to one-half of the tortilla. Cook the tortilla until slightly brown and flip in half. Remove from pan and allow to set for a minute. Cut the folded tortilla into thirds.

 

Serve sour cream and avocado slices as optional condiments. Quite honestly, one of these quesadillas triangles with a side salad was filling, but I generously filled the tortilla.

Calories…. ??? Um, in the neighborhood of 182 calories for each third if using 1 cup fo filling in each tortilla. Cut calories in half (per 1/3 slice) by using 1/2 cup filling per tortilla.  That’s just 273 calories for one full quesadillas. The avocado and sour cream is not included in the count.

Crab Stuffed Cucumber Cups

Crab Stuffed Cucumber Cut-Outs

I’ve been wanting to make these crab stuffed cucumbers for over a week. I am hosting a dinner party tonight, so I finally have good reason to whip up a batch for appetizers. Many thanks to my friend, Katie, for the garden fresh cherry tomatoes, chives and rosemary.

Appetizers don’t get any easier than this. One medium size cucumber makes six servings. Plan on two servings per guest. Home gardens are filled with ripe cucumbers this time of year. Fresh cucumbers shouldn’t be hard to find.

Peel the cucumber and cut into 1 1/2″ to 1 3/4″ slices. Using a melon baller, scoop out a portion of the cucumber “guts”. You want to create a cup for the crab filling, so leave a portion of the bottom intact. Discard the scooped portion unless you have a brilliant idea for its use (obviously, I did not).

Crab stuffed cucumber slicesSet the cucumber cups aside while preparing the filling. I covered mine and placed in the fridge (for added crispness) until I was ready to fill them.

Filling Ingredients

  • 6 ounces of canned crab meat will fill 12-18 cucumbers. Drain the juice before using.
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup finely minced green onion
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, low fat
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, reduced fat
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (or to desired taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish (optional) with fresh chives, rosemary and cherry tomatoes

How To

 Mix all of the above ingredients. If you aren’t serving the cucumbers immediately, hold off filling them until ready to serve. Cover and refrigerate both the filling and cucumber cups until ready to serve. You can fill the cups within minutes. Dot each with a cherry tomato and garnish your serving dish as desired.

Calories are in the neighborhood of 35 per cucumber cup, so enjoy!

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.

EZ Basil Pesto Sandwich

Open face Basil Pesto Sandwich

It was a typical Monday. The day was a whirlwind filled with every Murphy’s Law scenario imaginable. By 5 PM, I was panting for nourishment. Waiting more than 5 minutes for something to cook was not an option.

So what does Blimpy Girl do when pursued by a hunger attack… and trying to avoid the Cheez-it box and chocolate hidden in the 4th drawer next to the dishwasher? OK, OK, I’m getting a little sidetracked just thinking of what could of been… chocolate melting in my mouth intermingled with a handful (or two) of Cheez-its…

My strong will prevailed. Instead I walked outside, picked some fresh basil leaves from the garden and made these open-faced sandwiches.

Open face basil & tomato sandwich

Ingredients

  • Two slices French baguette bread (I used poppy seed flavor)
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • 2 tablespoon of marinara sauce
  • Onion slice cut in half
  • 4 teaspoons artichoke & asiago tapenade/pesto (purchase at Costco)
  • 5 pitted Kalamata olives cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons shaved/grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

How To

Add the following to each bread slice:

One tablespoon marinara sauce, 1/2 of the chopped basil, 1/2 of the sliced onion, 1 tomato slice, 1/2 of kalamata olives, a layer of cheese and 2 teaspoons tapenade/pesto.

Bake in toaster oven until bread is toasted and cheese has melted. About 5 minutes. You’re in the neighborhood of 302 calories for two open face sandwiches. Add a garden fresh salad with tomatoes and shredded carrots (drizzled with garlic balsamic vinegar) for an additional 20 calories.

Oops, let’s not forget the drink of choice for this dish… Pinot Grigio. A four-ounce serving will add an additional 98 calories. If you opt for Chardonnay, add 80 calories.

 

 

 

 

Henny Penny Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Cluck Cluck Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Half the fun of preparing Blimpy Girl meals is coming up with a name for the finished dish. This dish is named after one of my favorite story book characters. My concoction has chicken meat and eggs along with fresh garden goodies: tomato, onion, green pepper, pickle relish, celery and lettuce. I promise the sky won’t fall when trying this recipe and Henny Penny would be proud that farm fresh ingredients were used.

I threw together this dish before heading out for a steamy day on the lake. As usual, I grabbed food items available at the time. I keep plenty of chicken breast on hand (thank you, Costco) and garden items are at their peak (YES!!). When I discovered a loaf of French baguette bread in the freezer, the meal plan began to unfold.

This is a sandwich recipe  that “goes with the flow”. If you don’t have celery, then use grated carrot, if you don’t have green pepper, use diced green olives.

You can shred zucchini, add basil leaf, even serve the chicken mixture in red/yellow bell pepper halves. There are so many options for this easy-to-prepare dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 six-ounce cubed, cooked chicken breast
  • Chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional, but adds a nice crunch)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped (you can substitute with 1/4 cup green olive)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion (look for the sweet Vidalia type)
  • Salt / Pepper to taste. NOTE: if using green olive, which are already salty, cut down the amount of salt used.
  • French baguette slices
  • Lettuce (or spinach leaves) & sliced tomato (I cut mine slices in half to fit the baguette)
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • 3/4 cup low-fat mayo PLUS 1/4 cup no fat mayo

How To

Mix together all the ingredients except the lettuce and tomato slices. Top each baguette slice with a lettuce. Spread chicken mixture over lettuce and dress with a tomato slice.

This recipe makes approximately 12 sandwiches. Calories, depending on your options are around 170 calories per serving. Add a spinach salad with a low-fat vinegarette dressing, carrot sticks or broccoli florets and you have a 200 to 225 calorie meal. Heck, if you’re still feeling hungry, chow down a second sandwich. Omit the bread and save on calories for the indulgence.

Peach & Coconut Milk Ice Cream Treats


Filo cups filled with coconut milk, roasted peaches and raspberries.Coconut Peach PopsicleMichigan is setting record breaking temperatures this summer. Heck, we haven’t had rain in three weeks. Grass is fading to brown, temps are soaring and everyone is looking for ways to cool-off.

My cool-off idea was to pull out the grill and roast fresh peaches! Yep, roasted peach slices. Pair it with coconut milk and shredded cocount for a savory summer popsicle.

My soap making company sells the popsicle and pop sticks. But, in 95 degree weather, I discovered a better way to use the mold. Bite size filo cups filled with ice cream goodness.

The pops were very tasty with just enough sweetness to satisfy. I hope the grand kids give this summer treat a thumbs-up.

If you don’t want to invest in a pop mold, freeze mixture in a plastic tub. When ready to serve, place scoops into parfait dishes and drizzle with  honey (and coconut).

This picture is an indicator of the high temps we are experiencing. I took a bite from the popsicle and it was already melting. That’s OK, it only took me one minute to eat it!

Slice fresh peaches and roast in oven or grill.Here’s the scoop on how to make these yummy summer treats.

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh peaches cored and sliced, do not peel the skins
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (get the Light, if available)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

How To

Roast peach slices in oven.Leave skins on peaches, slice into wedges. Spread out onto cookie sheet and sprinkle with lemon juice. Roast in oven at 400-425 degrees. Bake until the peach slices start to caramelize (about 25-30 minutes). Remove and dice into smaller pieces. Set aside.

Rich coconut milk with vanilla extract.

Blend coconut milk, shredded coconut and vanilla extract until creamy.

Pour mold cavities 1/3 full of the coconut milk. Drop 2-3 diced peaches into each mold. Place in freezer and let set for 30 minutes. 

Remove mold from freezer. Drop in more peach pieces (try to evenly distribute), add another layer of coconut milk and freeze for 30 minutes.

Pour the coconut mixture into each mold cavitiy.

Remove mold from freezer. It’s time to pour the final layer. Top off mold cavities with the coconut milk, evenly distribute additional peach slices. Insert the pop sticks. Place in freezer for a minimum of 3 hours. The pops should be frozen solid once removed.

The popsicles may require a quick soak in warm water for removal. Note the word “quick”. If you soak too long, the pops will begin to melt.

Filling the popsicle mold

Tips

  • Make single serving bite-size desserts. Place any leftover popsicle mixture in a plastic tub and freeze. Using a melon baller, scoop out ice cream mixture and place into a mini filo cup. Dress with a raspberry and whipped cream. Serve immediately.
  • Use small binder clips to keep sticks centered in each mold cavity.
  • You don’t have to use a popsicle mold. Consider freezing the coconut mixture and scooping out servings into a parfait dish. Top with shredded coconut.

The popsicle molds filled to the top.

Serve petite single-serve portions with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio wine. You can dip the filo cups into melted chocolate… YUMMM!

Use mini filo cups to serve up this delicious ice cream.

 This recipe makes 12 (6 ounce) popsicles, PLUS there is plenty leftover to make 24-36 bite size filo cups.

OK, let’s talk calories. You’re in the neighborhood of 28 calories per ounce for the coconut milk. One whole peach (roasted) and a tablespoon of grated coconut (unsweetened)  adds  203 calories.

A 6-ounce popsicle is 150 calories. The only down-side of using coconut are fat calories. They’re fairly high. But, an occasional indulgence shouldn’t affect your weight loss goal.

The bite-size filo cups might be a better option (as pictured above). They appease the sweet-tooth, and are less than 30 calories (per filled cup) if using fat-free whipped cream.

 

Fresh Grilled Figs with Goat Cheese & Basil

Grilled Figs and Goat Cheese with Basil

Every year, the wine guy and I mark our calendars for fig season. Today we rejoiced! Fresh mission figs were available at Costco. If you’ve never experienced grilled figs with dollops of goat cheese and basil… you haven’t experienced life. It’s a culinary delight.

Fresh grilled figs are a culinary delight.

The tray of figs were cut in half. Leave the seeds intact. I soaked wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes. This keeps the skewers from burning on the grill. You only need to grill for a few minutes under low heat.

Promptly remove the figs from the skewers and top each fig with a dollop of goat cheese. Fresh basil leaves add to the flavor. You may want to chop the basil first and then sprinkle on top of the goat cheese filling. This appetizer is best served warm, but the wine guy and I were headed out for a day on the lake. We put our coveted figs in a cooler and quite honestly they were tasty even when chilled.

 Grilled figs ready to fill with goat cheese.

We are picking up another tray of figs at Costco this week. There are 24 mission figs in a tray. Cutting the figs lengthwise yields 48 bite-size servings and is in the neighborhood of 45 calories per fig (including goat cheese and basil topping).

According to the California Fig Advisory Board, figs contain more fiber than other common fruits and vegetables. One medium fig contains 1.7 g of fiber. If you eat 4 ½ medium figs, you satisfy 30 percent of the daily recommended allowance for fiber. Fiber is essential to regular digestion, a healthy colon and beneficial in lowering lower cholesterol. Oh, and let’s not fail to mention that figs are a great source of calcium and potassium.
 
Pencil in a date night with a figs while they are in season.  

Stuffed Italian Shells

Italian Stuffed Shells

 A colorful and easy appetizer you can throw together in 20 minutes. Serves 24 and you can swap out ingredients as needed. Each jumbo shell is a mere 65 calories. Tasty and filling.
Plated Appetizer- Italian Stuffed ShellsIngredients

  • 3/4 cup chopped cucumber (peeled)
  • 1 cup chopped tomato, cherry tomatoes work best
  •  6 round slices of salami, chopped. Look for fat-free brands.
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped spinach leaves
  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 20 Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I like the Buitoni Brand)
  • 4 tablespoons Light Caesar Dressing

 How To

Cook shells as directed on package. You will want them al dente. Once cooked, rinse in cold water and drain.

Combine all the cut and chopped veggies in a large mixing bowl. Add olives, cheese, salami, and chick peas. Pour Caesar dressing into bowl and gently toss.

Stuff each shell and serve. Best served fresh. Serves 24 and in the neighborhood of 65 calories per shell.

Tomato Spinach Open Face Sandwich


Open face tomato-spinach-cheese sandwiches in just 10 minutes. 140 calories. Add a salad and you’re still under 200 calories!

Tomato Spinach Marinade

My daughter, son-in-law and kids stopped by after Upwards soccer practice last night. Everyone was starving. Pressed for time, I gave the kids crustless PBJ sandwiches (thank you Costco for these individually wrapped sandwiches!). It was open face tomato-spinach sandwiches for the big people. I used leftover bagels from our Easter brunch. Based on comments, I believe they were a hit. My daughter stopped by this morning for a second helping for her work lunch.

Open Face Tomato-Spinach Cheese SandwichTomatoes and toppings were baked in the oven and bagels toasted. Using a spatula, place the tomato topping atop the bagel. A vidalia onion slice with the tomato goodness is another great addition to this sandwich.

Prep time for this dish is 10 minutes. Bake time is 7 minutes.

Fresh spinach, tomatoes and cheese are staple ingredients in Blimpy Girl’s kitchen. My focus centered on a couple of tomatoes clinging to life on the windowsill. They rose to the occasion and, under the knife, their life ended with purpose.

Sprinkle Garlic Spinach Mixture onto Tomato SlicesIngredient List

    • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
    • 1 cup low-fat Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese
    • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
    • Dash of lemon juice (about 1/2 teaspoon)
    • 5 whole bagels, cut in half (you can also use low-fat muffin halves)
    • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (reduce calories by avoiding those soaked in olive oil). I use the dried version in a bag.
    • 1 roasted red or yellow pepper. I keep roasted peppers on hand, if not available or pinched for time, dice the bell pepper and add to the spinach mixture.
    • 2 scallions, chopped (include the green stems)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle cheese on top of the spinach tomato mixture.
How To

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Dip tomato slices into balsamic vinegar. Or, drizzle vinegar onto the tomatoes. Place a single layer of coated tomatoes on cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add chopped spinach, garlic salt/pepper and lemon juice. Toss until mixed.

Place spinach mixture on top of each tomato slice. Add a slice of roasted bell pepper and top with cheese. Bake the tomatoes for 7 minutes in a 350 degree oven (or until cheese melts). While tomatoes are cooking, toast the bagel halves.

Roasted Red and Yellow PeppersRemove tomatoes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the onion slice to bagel (if desired) and tops with a baked tomato slice (depending on diameter of bagel, you may want two).

Standard bagels are in the neighborhood of 230 calories (unless using a low cal brand). With all the other ingredients (if using low-fat cheese) you’re at 300 calories for two halves. Reduce the calories even more by using low-fat muffins instead of bagels.