Popcorners – I’m hopelessly addicted :)

I admit it – I’m a snacker. That can be my downfall…I eat great, healthy meals, but the snacks get me. So I try to keep a bunch of healthier alternatives around so that when I can’t resist the urge, at least I am not totally killing my calorie count. My newest favorite is a popcorn ‘chip’ called PopCorners. These are FABULOUS !!


A 1.1 ounce bag is only 140 calories! The serving size is more than enough and the all natural product tastes great. It’s popcorn without all the messy little leftover kernel pieces that only get in my teeth and bother me anyhow 😉 And one of my favorite parts – – they come in different flavors. I LOVE things that have different flavors 🙂

Today I’m eating the slightly sweet Kettle version. Yesterday was Butter. The day before was Sea Salt. And tomorrow I have to try the White Cheddar – based on all the others being so good, I am sure the cheese will please.

Try some – if you can’t find them locally, you can order online. Healthy, all natural, low cal and awesome…Popcorners. (I may sound like an endorsement, but I have no affiliation with the product ! I just love it.)

Strawberry Tarts

These are such a hit and it’s no wonder why ! The pastry filled with strawberries and cream is perfect – then you add some drizzled chocolate and you have a heavenly dessert.

Strawberry Tarts
Strawberry Tarts

152 calories per serving
24 servings

1 box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
24 large strawberries, sliced
1 8 oz. container Light Cool Whip
Chocolate Syrup

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (or the temperature your puff pastry box instructs). Spray a baking sheet with Pam. Unfold each pastry sheet and cut into 12 pieces (making a total of 24 pieces). Bake 15 minutes or according to package instructions. Let cool and then gently split each in half so you can make a ‘sandwich’. Spread 2 T of Cool Whip in each, then top with 1 sliced strawberry. Close up the ‘sandwich’. Make all sandwiches and then drizzle each with 2 t of chocolate syrup.

Ginger Shrimp and Broccoli

This recipe calls for cashews, but that raises the calorie count quite a bit, so depending on what I am serving on the side, sometimes I just leave off the nuts. Try serving next to a side of brown rice or some Homemade Flat Beads. Your family will love the fantastic authentic Asian flavors !

Ginger Shrimp and Broccoli
Ginger Shrimp and Broccoli

6 servings
270 calories per serving

1 lb. raw, cleaned, peeled medium shrimp
1 T minced peeled ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c light teriyaki sauce
¼ c chicken broth
¼ t crushed red pepper
¼ t garlic powder
2 t oil
4 c broccoli florets
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 c cashew halves

Mix shrimp with ginger and garlic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cook veggies in oil with red pepper and garlic powder. Stir fry for 5 minutes them remove from pan and keep warm. Combine teriyaki and broth. Spray skillet with Pam and cook shrimp 5 minutes or until they turn pink. Add in the teriyaki mix and the reserved veggies. Cook 2-3 minutes. Just before serving, mix in nuts.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Nothing is better in winter than a pot of beef stew. And when you make it in the crock pot, the meat is so super tender. This one is a little more work than your typical crock pot recipe since different things have to happen at different times. But it is well worth it – the meat is super tender and the flavor is just great.

Crock Pot Beef Stew
Crock Pot Beef Stew

8 servings
240 calories per serving

1 ½ lb. boneless chuck roast (trim off any fat)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
½ t pepper
6 c water
2 c red potatoes, cubed
8 carrots, cut into chunks
1 c frozen peas, thawed
1 c frozen corn, thawed
5 T cornstarch
6 T water

Put beef in crock and sprinkle with soup mix and pepper. Pour water around meat and cover. Cook on high 5 hours. Remove meat and cut into cubes. Return to crock with veggies and cook on low 2 hours or until veggies are soft. Combine cornstarch and cold water and then stir into crock. Cover and cook on low one more hour. If the gravy does not thicken up enough, you can take a bunch of the liquid and add another cornstarch mix, bring to a boil and then simmer 2 minutes. That will get it nice and thick. Then just add back to the stew pot and serve immediately.

Thai Butternut Squash Soup

With this recipe you are basically adding a red curry sauce (coconut milk and red curry) to an already delicious soup – – and what you get is a spicy, authentic Thai soup that tastes just perfect.

Thai Butternut Squash Soup
Thai Butternut Squash Soup

5 servings
174 calories per serving

2 18 oz. cartons butternut squash soup
¾ c light coconut milk
2 t red curry paste
¼ t salt
½ c plain fat free yogurt
2 T finely chopped cilantro
15 fat free croutons

Mix soup, milk, salt and paste in a pan and cook 6 minutes or until completely heated. Mix yogurt and cilantro. Put soup in bowls and swirl in some yogurt on the top – add croutons and serve immediately.

Turkey Reuben Sandwich

This is an awesome reuben sandwich ! Give it a try 🙂

Turkey Reuben Sandwich
Turkey Reuben Sandwich

1 serving
330 calories per serving

1 Arnold Sandwich Thins roll (only 100 calories each !)
1 T low fat thousand island dressing
1 slice low fat swiss cheese
3 oz. smoked turkey deli meat
2 T sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread half the dressing on both buns. Add cheese, turkey and kraut to the roll and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining piece of roll, wrap in foil and bake 5-7 minutes.

Fudge Pops with Bananas

I recently got a Zoku Quick Pop Maker. BEST THING EVER ! I love making pops but hate the wait time. Now I have ‘em in 7-9 minutes 🙂 This is one of the recipes I pulled from the Zoku book – of course, I’ve tweaked many of the recipes to suit my own tastes, bring down calories, and to get creative with the pops, but some are in their original goodness.

You can make any of these recipes in traditional pop makers – each pop here is 2 oz. so adjust accordingly. And if you love pops like me, then do yourself a favor and get a Zoku 🙂

Fudge Pops with Bananas
Fudge Pops with Bananas

6 servings
132 calories per serving

1 c water
2 1/3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet morsels)
1/3 c sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 c skim milk
1 T fat free half and half
½ c very thin banana slices

In a saucepan whisk chocolate, sugar, water and salt and cook until completely melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes in the fridge and then whisk in the milk and half and half. Then return to the fridge and cool completely (about ½ hour).

Working in 2 batches – Place bananas on the sides of the maker molds then pour in the mix. In 7-9 minutes you’ll have creamy, fudgy goodness with a bit of banana thrown in for interest 🙂

If you are using traditional molds, you can suspend the bananas by filling the molds half way, freezing a bit, then adding the bananas and the rest of the mix. Or you can just let the drop to the bottom – it will still taste dandy ! Freeze 6 hours.

Empanapita from the Keep the Beat ™ cookbook from the National Institutes for Health We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) Campaign

Check out the online cookbook, Keep the Beat ™ (available in pdf format) for some great ideas for healthful food that kids will eat and they will enjoy preparing with you. Kids learn by example – show them how good healthy food can be !!!

This is a great combination of an empanada and a pita – the recipe is fun to make and is a great healthy alternative to traditionally fried empanadas. You can easily change this up and use leftover pork or turkey instead. And you can even make it a bit more authentic by adding some sofrito to the mix. This was a great meal !


4 servings
373 calories per serving

2 6½-inch whole wheat pitas
1 c Tangy Salsa (see recipe below – or you can sub a store bought salsa)

For filling:
2 c canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed
2 c frozen broccoli, corn, and pepper vegetable mix, thawed
2 c grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced (Perdue Shortcuts work great here !)
½ c shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ c sofrito tomato cooking base (in the Goya section of your market) – optional
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T scallions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

For Tangy Salsa (22 calories per serving):
½ c jarred roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
½ c no-salt-added diced tomatoes (or substitute 1 medium tomato, chopped)
1 small lime, peeled and cut into small chunks
¼ t ground black pepper
¼ t ground cumin
1 T fresh cilantro, rinsed and chopped

Tangy Salsa
Tangy Salsa

Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Combine beans, vegetables, chicken, cheese, sofrito and seasonings. Mix well.
Cut pitas in half, and open the pockets. Divide filling evenly between the four and place on a nonstick baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes until the filling is hot, cheese melts, and chicken is reheated. You can make these a bit ahead of time and heat when ready – this makes it a great recipe for when you are having guests.

For salsa, combine all ingredients and toss well (it is best if you make this ahead and let sit an hour or 20 so let the flavors mingle). Serve each empanapita with ¼ cup of Tangy Salsa.

Don’t skimp on the salsa – it really makes the meal ! I added ¼ c lime juice, 1 T sliced scallions, salt and pepper and omitted the roasted red peppers. The lime pieces add such a nice fresh flavor !!

Chicken Cutlets and Bean Salad

This is a perfect meal ! Chicken done so simply turns out the most savory, delicious cutlets. And the lemony salad on the side just bursts with flavor. Simple, simple, simple – but such a great meal !

Chicken Cutlets and Bean Salad
Chicken Cutlets and Bean Salad

4 servings
395 calories per serving

½ pound wax beans, sliced lengthwise (or green beans if you can’t find wax beans)
15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ c lemon juice
3 T oil
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken cutlets, 3 oz. each
5 oz. baby spinach leaves or baby arugula or other mixed greens

Mix beans, chickpeas, 3 T lemon juice, 2 T oil, salt and pepper. Spray a skillet with Pam and cook chicken with salt and pepper 3 minutes per side or until done. Mix spinach with 1 T oil and 1 T lemon juice then season with salt and pepper. Serve bean salad on top of spinach. Plate chicken and serve.

Ham, Broccoli and Rice

This couldn’t be easier and it turns out a great healthy meal that the whole family will enjoy. I love one dish meals ! If you don’t have leftover ham on hand, try using Canadian bacon.

Ham, Broccoli and Rice
Ham, Broccoli and Rice

4 servings
290 calories per serving

2 t margarine
½ c chopped onion
4.3 oz. package of long grain and wild rice mix
1 2/3 c water
2 c frozen broccoli florets
1 ½ c diced cooked ham
1 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese

Melt margarine in a skillet on medium heat and cook onion and rice from the mix for 2-3 minutes them pour in water and seasoning packet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook 10 minutes then lay broccoli and ham over the rice and bring back to a boil before lowering heat to medium low. Then cover and cook another 10-15 minutes or until rice is tender. Uncover and add cheese to top – let simmer 5 minutes to melt cheese. Serve immediately.

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