Lightened Up Recipe · Side dish

Lightened Up Easter Menu

I love having options, and when it comes to cooking, it’s even more true!  Making Easter dinner made me challenge myself to find recipes with a little less calories and carbs, since most in my family are trying to watch both.  We splurged a little, but it was a good feeling to know that things were made lighter this year! I love the option of making our favorite recipes, but reducing the calories in them!

Spiral Glazed Ham
Baked Potato Casserole
Green Beans with Almonds
Strawberry Kale Salad
Rolls ~ Deviled Eggs
Light Coconut Pie and Light Chocolate Pie

I tried a new potato dish that was really good, but healthier by tweaking just a few ingredients!

 

Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium potatoes (about 2 1/2 to 3 lb. total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded 2% cheddar cheese, divided
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
Sliced green onions (optional)

Directions :

Place potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook over
medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish.
Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk, sour cream, salt and pepper.
Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese and half of bacon. Spoon mixture into prepared casserole dish.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining 1/2 cupcheese,
remaining bacon and green onions. Bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
TIP:
This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated. Cover with foil and bake at 350° F for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated. Uncover; top with cheese,
bacon and green onions; bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

For dessert I made two pies from Cooking Light – Chocolate and Coconut.  Both are still decadent!

We all splurged a bit for Easter, but maybe that was because we felt a little better about the healthier options in other food!  Did you splurge at Easter or stay to the healthy side?

denise a

Side dish

Creamy Potato Stacks with Thyme

potato stacks 3a

“You eat with your eyes first!”

Oh, I love it when simple food is made a little fancier and prettier for a special dinner.  I love Au Gratin Potatoes, but a casserole dish of them is usually too messy to set on a table in hopes for a pretty presentation.  However, recently I found a recipe for a bumped-up version of these delicious spuds.  The Au Gratin recipe is basically made in individual servings by putting stacks of potatoes into muffin tins!  It’s genius!  This tweaked recipe is also super delicious and pretty to serve, plus these cook faster than a whole pan of Au Gratin Potatoes!  That’s a win-win!

potato stacks 4

I don’t own a mandolin for slicing, but my food processor does a fantastic job at making super thin slices of vegetables and it’s not nearly so scary to use!  These are creamy, delicious AND pretty!!

Creamy Potato Stacks With Thyme

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 lbs. medium russet potatoes (about 4-5), peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray 12 cup standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a small sauce pan, whisk together cream, thyme, garlic, and nutmeg. Bring to a slow simmer and remove from the heat. You want the cream just heated through. Discard the thyme.
  • Toss the potato slices with salt and pepper and layer into stacks in the prepared muffin cups, filling each one to the top but not over the top.
  • Spoon cream over each potato stack, filling almost to the top. You will have couple or so slices exposed. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are knife tender and golden brown on top.
  • Remove the muffin pan from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen up the stacks and carefully remove to a serving platter.

potato stacks

potato stacks 2

What dish can you think of that needs to be made a little prettier to set on the table?  Would individual servings help with presentation?

With love and little bit of carbs,

denise a

Main entree · salad · Side dish

Refreshing the Tossed Salad

Tossed salads are good on occasion, but I love a salad that’s full of good things – not just greens, but fruit, nuts, cheeses, and maybe some protein!

At Christmas I made up a salad for a side dish to go with our Christmas dinner.  I wanted a green salad with great flavor and some Christmas color.  I served the salad before the rest of the meal was set out.  My family raved about it.  They also said it would make a great entree’.  So, last week I decided to repeat that salad and add some roasted chicken to make it a meal. Wow.  It was so good!

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Here’s how I made it:

Christmas Salad

Spring mix
Pomegranate seeds (Here’s how to seed a pomegranate)
Gala Apples – diced
Sugared Walnuts
Honey Goat Cheese
Diced roasted chicken

Place ingredients in large bowl.  Drizzle with dressing just before serving.

Maple Dijon Dressing

1 Tablespoon (heaping) Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (more To Taste)
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (more To Taste)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt And Pepper, to taste

In a small jar, mix Dijon, maple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well to mix.

If you want to make this as a side salad, simply omit the chicken.  I found the Honey Goat Cheese at Aldi.  If you can’t find it, you could use regular goat cheese or Feta.

IMG_8488

I whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Muffins to go with this supper and it made a great winter dinner!

Whether you make it as a side or an entree’, I’ll bet you’ll be like me and will fix it for more than just Christmas!

Refresh the tossed salad!

denise a

 

 

Side dish

Fried Green Tomatoes

img_5725I recently had the blessing of visiting my parents in Kentucky for several days.  Aside from sweet times of chatting and visiting, we also had some great meals, as is always true when I visit them in their home! My mom is a great cook, and is frequently trying new recipes.

The beauties above are Fried Green Tomatoes that she made as a side dish for dinner one night.  Oh my goodness!  These are the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried them at different restaurants as we’ve traveled.  The secret is that there is a little sweetness in the breading that comes with the addition of some brown sugar!

Continue reading “Fried Green Tomatoes”

Gluten-Free · salad · Side dish

Spinach Salad With a Twist

Meals can get boring if you don’t change things up a bit.  I’ve found it’s all about The Sides!  If you make your famous meatloaf or pork loin and just add a couple of different sides to along with it, it turns it into a brand new meal!

I love salads of all kinds, and a Spinach Salad is right up there with my favorites!  I love this old standard, Continue reading “Spinach Salad With a Twist”

dinner in 30 minutes · Side dish

Fast Yellow Squash Side Dish

yellow squasha.jpg

This Friday will mark the first day of fall!  However, fresh produce is still available in the grocery stores, if not in your local farmer’s market.  If you have access to fresh yellow squash, I have the perfect side dish that doesn’t require the frying method!  This also goes into the category of prepared in under 10 minutes!  This is healthy, delicious and fast – what a great combination!  Here’s the recipe:

Yellow Squash Ribbons W/Red Onion and Parmesan

Ingredients

 

  • 4 medium yellow squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

yellow squash 2

How to Make It

Step 1

Using a vegetable peeler, shave squash into ribbons to measure 5 cups. Discard seeds and core of squash.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onion, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender, gently stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add salt, red pepper, and black pepper, and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

yellow squash 3

 

Grilled chicken would be good with this dish.  When I fixed it recently I did all vegetables.  It was so refreshing and light!  I hope you’ll try this!  Even for people who might not love squash, peeling it so thinly is a great disguise!

yellow squash

Enjoy!

Denise Signature 150 px