Refrigerator Pickles

Make your own fresh pickles quickly and easily. These are great to bring along to BBQ’s and a great thing to keep on hand at home – they make great sides to lunches and a great snack for midnight eaters :)

There are so many variations you can do just by swapping out different types of peppers, different herbs, etc.

Refrigerator Pickles
Refrigerator Pickles

Only 30 calories for a whole cucumber’s worth

Kirby cucumbers cut lengthwise into quarters – depending on size, I can fit 4-5 cucumbers into a jar
3 T kosher salt
2 T sugar
1 1/4 c white vinegar
2 T peppercorns
5 large garlic cloves
16 dill springs
optional – green hot chilies, halved lengthwise

Jars – either mason jars you purchase in the canning section of Walmart. etc. Or just save up some jars from mayo, pickles, etc. and reuse them !

Pack veggies into 2 clean 1 quart glass jars. Mix salt, sugar, vinegar, peppercorns and garlic in another jar. Cover and shake until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 c water and pour over the vegetables. Tuck the chilies and dill in and add enough water to make sure the veggies are completely covered. Close jars and refrigerate over night or for as long as 3 weeks.

Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese

I’m not a huge fan of plain salads. But when you add lots of fiber (chickpeas) and cheese, then they become special and they do fill you up. This one has both and has a great citrus dressing. Add a few squirts of fresh lime of orange juice to give it even more citrusy taste.

Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese
Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese

4 servings
178 calories per serving

1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained
2 scallions, sliced
1/2 c grape tomatoes, halved
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
3 C bagged salad mix (I like to use a mix of organic greens or mesclun mix)
2 oz. low fat feta cheese
1 t lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
1 t oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t salt

Mix zest, juice, oil, garlic and salt. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, scallions, parsley and salad and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta and serve.

Egg Drop Soup

This egg drop takes just 5 minutes to prepare and makes a great lunch portion. Pair it with a salad or sandwich for a nice, filling meal.

Egg Drop Soup
Egg Drop Soup

2 servings
50 calories per serving

3 cups fat free chicken broth
1 large egg
1/2 T soy sauce
2 T fresh chives, chopped
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1 c water
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all except egg in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Beat egg lightly and when broth is at a boil, slowly spoon in egg. Serve immediately.

Curry Chicken

This steamy Indian inspired dish has just the right amount of curry. Pair it up with a vegetable side dish such as Ginger Steamed Carrots.

Curry Chicken
Curry Chicken

3 servings
190 calories per serving

3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken cut into cubes
2 t oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
1/4 c celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T wheat flour
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c canned diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1-2 t curry powder
¼ – 1/2 t cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/4 c chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Add salt and pepper to chicken cubes. Put 1 t oil in skillet and cook chicken 4-6 minutes or until browned. Lower the heat and cook 4 more minutes then remove from pan. Heat pan to medium and add oil, onion, celery and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in flour and add broth and cook 5 minutes or until thickened up. Stir in tomatoes, Worcestershire, curry and cayenne. Add chicken back to skillet along with salt and pepper and simmer 3 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with cilantro.

New England Cod Chowder

This is one of the best chowders I have had ! The broth is just creamy enough without being too much – the chowder has just enough fish flavor (unlike some clam chowders that can really be too much) – and the potatoes and beans make it very filling. This mild chowder will be a favorite in your house in no time !

New England Cod Chowder
New England Cod Chowder

4 servings
380 calories per serving

16 oz. clam juice
1 C water
1 onion, chopped small
1 celery stalk, chopped
15.5 oz. cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
14/5 oz. can diced new potatoes, rinsed and drained
1 c frozen corn
1.2 t dried thyme
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t onion powder
leftover cod from Lemon and Herb Cod recipe
3/4 c fat free half and half

Place first 4 ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, 1 minute and then add beans, potatoes, corn, thyme, salt, onion powder and pepper and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, 10 minutes. Then break 1/3 of the potato and bean mixture with the back of a spoon and break the cod into large pieces and add to the chowder with the half and half. Reduce heat to low and simmer very gently about 5 minutes.

(If you haven’t made the cod recipe, you just need 1 1/2 lb. broiled cod for this dish)

400 Calories Lite

Many of my 400 calorie or less meals are heavier fare that really keeps you feeling full, keeps you from craving higher fat foods, and really satiates. But sometimes you want to lighten up to get ready for a special occasion, to fit into that new bathing suit, to ‘diet’ within an already healthy meal plan.


This week I am devoting my posts to just that – the meals posted will be LITE dishes – lo cal, lo fat, lo carb. But still plenty tasty and very nutritious. So jump on in with me and let’s beat down those pounds :)

Green Apple and Pear Pops

What a refreshing snack on a hot summer day ! Pops of any kind make a great dessert or snack and these are no exception :)

Green Apple and Pear Pops
Green Apple and Pear Pops

12 servings (6 oz. pops)
103 calories per serving

2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
2 c pear juice
½ t ground cardamom
1 ripe pear, peeled and diced
1 c applesauce

Mix apples, pear juice and cardamom and simmer on low heat 10 minutes to soften the apples. Add the pears and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the applesauce. Fill the molds and insert the sticks and freeze at least 8 hours.

For fun, place a green maraschino cherry at the bottom of each pop before filling with the other mix.

Lemon and Herb Cod

This is a great quick recipe that produces a really moist and flavorful fish fillet. And you even get enough cod broiled to use it in a great chowder recipe that I’ll post in the next day or two :) If you are not going to make the chowder, just reduce the cod to 1 ½ pounds and proceed accordingly.

Lemon and Herb Cod
Lemon and Herb Cod

4 servings (plus leftovers for chowder)
255 calories per serving

1 garlic clove, peeled
2 slices whole wheat bread torn into pieces
2 T parsley leaves
1/2 t lemon zest
2 t oil
2 T plain fat free yogurt
2 t lemon juice
1 3 lb. cod fillet cut into 8 pieces
16 oz. package frozen stir fry vegetables
Pam

Mince garlic in food processor. Add bread and parsley and pulse until crumbs form. Add lemon zest, 1 t oil and 1/8 t salt and pulse to mix. Place in a bowl. Combine yogurt, lemon juice and 1/8 t salt. Preheat broiler and spray the rack of a broiler pan with Pam. Place fish on rack and broil 4 minutes. Turn and broil another 4 minutes or until fish is done.

Take 4 pieces and refrigerate up to 2 days for the New England Chowder recipe. Spread yogurt mix on the other 4 pieces and then sprinkle with the bread crumb mix and press so that the crumbs stick. Spray with Pam and broil 1 minute to brown crumbs. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Heat 1 t oil and add vegetables and stir fry 4-5 minutes. Serve with the fish.

Non Stick Fry Pans – a Dieter’s Best Friend

As part of FoodBuzz Daily Specials, I’ll be making a some special posts over the next couple of weeks that relate to a specific topic. Today’s special is about Non Stick Fry Pans.


Many people watching their diets think that fried food is off limits. But this isn’t so ! The act of frying is not unhealthy – it is all the oil typically used when frying something that causes a meal to become high in fats and calories.

A good non stick pan is essential and with it, you can continue to enjoy pan fried meats and eggs, sauteed veggies, caramelized onions and more.

The 2 things you need so that you can use as little oil as possible are Pam spray (or similar item) and water.

Pam is great when frying eggs, pan searing meats and fish, and when sauteing vegetables. When it comes to sauteing peppers or potatoes, some people give up because they can get dried out when you use just Pam. But I have a secret :) Just add a tablespoonful of very hot water when you see the food is drying out. When caramelizing onions or frying up peppers and onions, I sometimes add as much as 4-5 T of water throughout the cooking period. It is a GREAT calorie saver. And all this would NOT be possible if you didn’t have a good non stick pan on hand. I have a few in different sizes and could not live without them.

Here are a few recipes that just could not be made without a non stick pan:

Open Faced Egg and Bacon Sandwich
Bacon, Egg and Cheese Muffin
Turkey and Stuffing
Orange Ginger Chicken

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