Sunday, January 23, 2011


If you've ever tried Chicken Paprikash, it's probably because your Hungarian grandmother slaved away all Sunday at the stove making it for you... and you no doubt reaped the benefits of her hard work. Well, I've lightened up this comfort food and turned it into a simple enough dish that you can whip it together in no time flat, even on a weeknight. Greek yogurt adds a protein packed tang and a few slices of smokey bacon pairs perfectly with the paprika. Tossing in some vitamin rich veggies like peas and bell peppers offer some added health benefits and makes you feel a little less guilty about indulging in this Hungarian favorite.

3 slices of bacon
2 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped into 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 small yellow onion, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 package (1 lb) frozen gnocchi dumplings, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 tbs. paprika
extra virgin olive oil

-cut the bacon into 1/2" pieces
-fry the bacon in a large pan with high sides on medium heat for about 5 minutes
-remove bacon from pan and set aside
-carefully wipe the pan of the bacon grease with a paper towel
-add 1 tsp. olive oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low
-add the peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan, and cook for about 7-10 minutes until onions are soft and transparent
-in a small mixing bowl, whisk together chicken broth, yogurt, paprika, and cornstarch
-add mixture to the pan and reduce heat to low/simmer
-add chicken, gnocchi, peas, and 3/4 of the cooked bacon and stir to combine
-season well with salt and pepper
-cook on low for about 10 minutes until warmed through
-serve with a garnish of remaining 1/4 of bacon and enjoy!

serves approximately 3-4

This is an adaptation of my mom's recipe we ate growing up. I've made my recipe a more quick-cooking one, and added a few ingredients inspired by other paprikash dishes I have eaten.

-If you can't find gnocchi, egg noodles are also a common accompaniment to paprikash.
-Want it lactose free? Puree some lactose-free cottage cheese in a blender with about 1/4 cup of broth (until it becomes the same consistency as sour cream). I've used Lactaid brand and it works great!
-To make it a little richer, use white wine instead of broth. Or, to make it more cost efficient, use water instead of broth.
-You can swap sour cream in place of yogurt.
-Make the cooking easier by using a storebought rotisserie chicken!
-Try it with pork! Cut up a cooked pork tenderloin and add it to the dish instead of chicken.
-Make it vegetarian: toss in some roasted zucchini and eggplant and a handful of chopped spinach in place of the meat. Add some chopped celery and carrots in with the sauteed onions and peppers, too.
-Don't like peas? Leave them out!
-Family won't eat the veggies? Puree the red pepper and onions and add some grated carrots into the dish too- they will go unnoticed and the dish will taste great!
-You can leave the bacon out if you'd like; it just adds a nice smokiness I like in my dish.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Don't let the dried out, bland memories of meatloaf deter you trying out this meal! My lean turkey meatloaf stays moist and flavorful with the help of sauteed veggies and hearty spinach. Topped with some zesty bbq sauce and placed atop a mound of my cauliflower mash, you'll think you died and gone to healthy food heaven!

for meatloaves:
1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, small diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, small diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, small diced
5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out (about half a package)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/3 cup milk
6 tbs. bbq sauce (plus more for serving)
extra virgin olive oil

for cauliflower:
1 head cauliflower, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 tbs. grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil

for meatloaves:
-warm 1 tbs. olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium-low heat
-add onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic and toss to coat in oil
-let cook for 15 minutes, until veggies are soft and transparent, but not browned
-remove from heat and let cool
-in a large mixing bowl, combine cooled vegetable mixture, spinach, eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, milk, and 1 tbs. olive oil
-mix in ground turkey until everything is combined (do not over mix!)
-divide meat mixture into 6 equal sections
-take each section of meat, and roll into an oval shape
-flatten oval into about 3/4"-1" thick patties, repeat with the following 5 sections of meat
-place patties on a wire wrack on top of a baking sheet
-spread 1 tbs. bbq sauce on top of each patty
-bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until meat is firm to the touch

for cauliflower:
-place a large piece of foil on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray
-place chopped cauliflower and garlic on foil, and cover with another piece of foil
-roll the edges of the foil together making a pouch
-roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
-remove top piece of foil and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees
-cook for an additional 20 minutes
-remove cauliflower and place in a large bowl
-mash with a potato masher until you get the consistency of mashed potatoes
-add yogurt, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste

makes 6 servings

The turkey meatloaf was inspired by my dear friend Dave Evans and the cauliflower mash was inspired by a recipe from Rocco DiSpirito's cookbook Now Eat This!

-Make this meatloaf with ground beef or with ground chicken too!
-Don't have frozen spinach? Skip it, or add in a handful of fresh chopped spinach to your onion mixture and let it cook down. You don't need to use a full 10 oz. of spinach either, especially if you are just starting to introduce it into your meals.
-Add more veggies to the mix like grated zucchini or carrot.
-Make the cauliflower seem even more like mashed potatoes by adding 1 or 2 mashed potatoes to the mix. It's still healthier than it was before, and you'll never know the difference!
-Use a spicy bbq to top your patties with to add a kick, or try topping the patties with your favorite marinara sauce for an Italian style meal!
-Need the recipe to be dairy free? Leave out the cheeses and replace the milk and yogurt with chicken broth.
-Feeding a smaller crowd? Split the recipe, or make the whole recipe and freeze half the raw patties for another night's dinner!
-Make the cauliflower more delectable by adding in such things as: fresh or dried herbs, chopped sundried tomatoes, or kernels of sweet corn.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


It's hard to believe that you can indulge into something so creamy when it doesn't even have cream in it! Well you'll become a believer when you try my 'Creamy' Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Pureed white beans not only give this soup major protein, but they add a rich and velvety depth to it too. Anybody can take these 12 simple ingredients and make dinner soup-er tasty tonight!

4 oz. box wild rice (I used Reese brand)
2/3 cup celery, chopped into 1/4" pieces
2/3 cup carrots, chopped into 1/4" pieces
1 small onion, small diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 oz. cans of white kidney or cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2-2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 tbs. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil

-place rice and 1 1/2 cups water into a medium sized pot and bring to a boil
-reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook for 50 minutes
-meanwhile, warm 2 tbs. olive oil in a large soup pot
-add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes
-using a food processor or blender, puree beans with 1 cup of chicken broth (adding more broth if the mixture is too thick to puree)
-add pureed beans and add remaining broth to the pot of veggies
-add in chicken, cheese, salt, and pepper and stir until combined
-keep on medium-low/low heat until veggies become soft
-once rice is finished cooking, add to the soup pot, and stir until combined
-serve and enjoy!

makes 4-5 servings

This recipe was designed after one of my favorite soups from at Panera Bread, only mine is healthier with the absence of the cream!

-Make the dish vegetarian by leaving out the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
-Try the soup with ground turkey instead of shredded chicken!
-Toss in some dried herbs such as oregano, parsley, and/or thyme. (Just remember- a little goes a long way with dried herbs!)
-Need it dairy free? Just leave out the parmesan!
-Can't find a box of wild rice? Just find some kind of wild rice mix of rice, and cook about 1 cup of it with 1 1/2 cup water.
-Skip the rice and add little dumplings to the soup instead- yum!
-Toss in some frozen corn or peas, or some chopped zucchini or spinach to boost the veggies in the soup!
-Save some time and effort- use a store bought, cooked rotisserie chicken.
-Freeze the soup into individual containers, and pull one out when you need a quick lunch or dinner!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Time to remaster a childhood favorite- the sloppy joe! And what better way to do it than making it healthier (and tastier) too! Lean ground turkey pairs perfectly with the mild flavors of zucchini and mushrooms and a full condiment shelf in the fridge makes this meal a snap to throw together. Though I haven't figured out how to make them less sloppy, I have figured out how to make them delicious! Try them tonight, and take a trip down memory lane...

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup green pepper, cut into 1/4" pieces
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 large zucchini, cut into 1/4" pieces (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2-3 tbs. white vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 tbs. worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs. hot sauce (optional)
extra virgin olive oil
buns for serving (optional)

-warm 2 tbs. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
-add turkey, bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic and cook until turkey is no longer pink, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks
-add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer until slightly thickened and warmed through, about 10-15 minutes (reducing the heat to medium-low)
-serve on a bun or eat with a fork and enjoy!

serves approximately 5 people

This dish was inspired by a recipe out of one of my favorite cooking magazines, Clean Eating.

-Save on money and calories: use less meat and add more green pepper, zucchini, and/or mushrooms.
-Reduce the calories even more by using a flat bread bun like Pepperidge Farm's Deli Flats or eat the meal with no bun at all!
-Make it vegetarian by skipping the meat and adding more veggies like eggplant, yellow summer squash, grated carrots, and/or butternut squash.
-Make a big batch, and freeze the leftovers for later: defrost in the refrigerator overnight and heat in the microwave or in a skillet over medium-low heat.
-Try the dish with ground chicken or ground beef too!
-Like your sloppy joes sweeter? Add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar.
-Instead of a bun, try the turkey meat on top of mashed potatoes, polenta, spaghetti squash, or pasta noodles.
-Make the joes extra spicy by adding extra hot sauce or a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper.