Hi, my name is Aileen and it’s great to see you here sharing my blog. I have been cooking since I was a teen. My Mom put a home cooked meal on the table every night and so do I (it’s a challenge when you work full time, but it is well worth it!). I love food – I love making it, I love eating it. I love how it brings people together. My most favorite thing to do is share a meal with family and friends. And we often end up talking about other food while we are eating this food.
There’s pretty much nothing I can’t make, though I really prefer cooking savory meals to baking. I have made it all from scratch at one time or another and still cook mainly this way. I have a discerning palate and a taste for spicing things just the right way. My recipes are definitely not bland and that helps when creating satisfying meals – your mouth knows it ate after it’s done with one of my meals
I am one of 5 Neon Pigs, a self named group of foodies. How did we get the name? We decided it was sooooo appropriate because everything right in the world exists in a BBQ joint with a neon pig hung in the window
I was blessed with a great metabolism and for years and years ate anything I wished without gaining an ounce. From 35 forward I gained a few pounds here and a few pounds there and then after age 40 my metabolism came to a screeching halt and I could just not get off the weight that had compounded with just plain exercise. A drastic plan was needed….so here I am, 40 something and trying to make my world right by creating recipes that satisfy yet still fall into a healthful lifestyle that I know I will have to now forever follow if I want to maintain a healthy body.
This recipe gives you a really nice creamy dressing since you use mayo instead of eggs and oil. If you like it with a lot of bite, add extra anchovy.
88 calories per serving
½ c grated parmesan cheese
½ c fat free mayo
¼ c lemon juice
2 t anchovy paste
2 t Worcestershire sauce
½ t pepper
¼ t dry mustard
5 large cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. fresh bread cut into cubes
4 head romaine lettuce in bite size pieces
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine 1.2 c water with cheese, mayo, lemon juice, anchovy paste, Worcestershire, pepper, mustard and garlic. Whisk well and set aside. Place bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes to toast them. When done combine croutons and romaine and then dress and serve immediately.
Milanese style just means a breaded cutlet – – This is easy to throw together and the cutlets rival my old standby recipe – it’s the parmesan cheese in them that make these really special. Change up the salad by adding different veggies; tonight I had some left over zucchini and radishes that I threw in.
197 calories per serving
4 3 oz boneless chicken breasts
1/4 t black pepper
¼ t salt
1/4 c seasoned bread crumbs
2 T grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 t oil
3 c baby salad greens or field greens
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c matchstick cut carrots (pre-packaged)
3 T low fat balsamic dressing
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse chicken in water. Combine bread crumbs and parmesan in a bowl and press chicken cutlets in to coat well. Spray a skillet with Pam and heat over medium heat and add the chicken and cook about 4-5 minutes per side or until browned. Mix the salad greens, carrots, tomatoes and dressing and serve salad alongside chicken cutlet.
This dish is a FAVORITE of mine when I go to Asian restaurants. Now I’ve recreated it at home ! I’ve added some more veggies that you usually get in the restaurant dish and it makes it a nice complete meal. This tastes so authentic and so delicious !
385 calories per serving
8 oz. rice noodles (pad thai work great – the wider the better, but whatever you can find !)
1/2 c beef broth
4 teaspoons black bean garlic sauce (available in the Asian section of your market)
1 T soy sauce
2 t brown sugar
2 t cornstarch
4 t peanut oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 small onion, thinly sliced
5 ½ c sliced and cut stir fry veggies (snow pea pods, carrots, broccoli, celery) (if using frozen, thaw them)
1/2 c water, divided
8 ounces sirloin steak, cut into thin slices
¼ c douchi (fermented black beans available at your local Asian market)
Prepare noodles according to package instructions then rinse in cold water and drain and set aside. Mix Sherry, sauces, sugar and cornstarch and set aside. Heat 2 t oil in a non stick skillet and cook ginger 30 seconds. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until softened up a bit then add the rest of the veggies plus ¼ c water. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until the veggies are softened a bit. Add the veggies to the noodles and wipe out your pan. Add 2 t oil to the pan and cook steak 3-4 minutes to brown it then add in the cornstarch and cook 2 minutes to thicken the sauce. Now add the veggies and noodles to the pan with ¼ c water and the fermented black beans. Heat through for about 2-3 minutes and serve immediately.
This goes together in no time, but then you have to be around the house to tend to the meat every couple of hours as it SLOW cooks in the oven. But it is worth EVERY second. Just plan this one for a day you are inside anyhow.
The sauce is deep and rich and thick and very authentic – it rivals any you would find at a good BBQ Joint !
281 calories per serving
1 T oil
2 yellow onions, diced
2 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin
2 t paprika
1 t cayenne pepper
12 oz. bottle of lager beer
¾ c ketchup
¾ c cider vinegar
½ c whole grain mustard
2 T tomato paste
1 T canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (here is where you can really spice it up – the more chipotle pepper, the hotter it will be !)
1 T adobo sauce (from can above)
5 lb. bone in pork butt or pork shoulder
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium low heat and cook onions about 20 minutes then increase heat to high and stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne and cook 1 minute. Then stir in beer, ketchup, vinegar, mustard, tomato paste, minced pepper, adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cook about 10 minutes. Trim all the fat from pork, remove pan from heat and add pork putting some of the sauce on top. Cover and move pan to the oven and bake 1 ½ hours then turn the pork over, cover with more sauce , cover the pan again and cook another 1 ½ hours. Then uncover and continue to cook until the meat pulls apart easily, another 1-2 hours. Place meat in a large bowl and cover with foil. Retain sauce in a cup or bowl and refrigerate 20 minutes or so – or until the fat separates from the sauce and then skim it off. Return sauce to pan and heat 4-5 minutes. Shred the pork and discard any bone. Mix the heated sauce into the shredded meat and stir well.
This is another one of those really versatile salads – you can add into this bits of pieces of all the little leftover bits of veggies in your frig without really changing the calorie count all that much. This is great next to a sandwich or sometimes I have it all on its own with a few Triscuits next to it and call it a meal !
286 calories per serving
2 14 oz. cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
4 radishes diced small
1 green pepper diced small
½ c chopped parsley
1 T lemon juice
1 T vinegar
1 T oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
¼ t celery salt
Combine beans and all veggies and then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
What a great appetizer or lunch. The sausage, beans and garlic make a perfect stew. Served with cheese toast, this makes a great dish to serve to guests. Even with the bread, this dish comes in under 400 calories !!
350 calories per serving
2 t oil
3 t garlic, minced
4 2 oz. turkey sausages (any flavor you like, I used Italian hot) cut into chunks
1 c water
1 c chicken broth
2 19 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 c baby spinach
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/8 t salt
½ t garlic powder
2 T lemon juice
6 T shredded provolone cheese
6 1 oz. slices French bread
Heat oil and cook sausage until almost done. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add water, broth to crock pot then add spinach. Add salt and pepper and garlic powder. Add beans and then add sausage and garlic and any pan drippings to the top. Cook on low 3 hours. Add the splash of lemon during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve with Cheese Toasts. To make toasts, sprinkle bread slices with cheese and broil 2 minutes to melt cheese.
If you don’t have a crock pot, you can do this stove top is a soup pot – after cooking the sausage and combining all the ingredients, simmer on very low for 1 hour.
These little crustless tarts make a great side dish to lunch or dinner. Very cheesy, very chic 🙂
124 calories per serving (serving=2 tarts)
16 oz. frozen spinach
3 egg whites
12 oz. 2 % cottage cheese
1 c shredded part skim mozzarella
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put spinach in a colander and rinse with hot water until thawed. Using your hand or the back of a spoon, press it down firmly to drain all the water out of it. Mix egg whites, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese and then add spinach and mix well. Spoon mixture into 16 muffin / cupcake cups sprayed with Pam. Bake 35 minutes.
What a wonderful appetizer or lunch ! The marinade makes the shrimp nice and spicy. And the sauce is a great deviation from the typical ketchup and horseradish mixture…this one uses tomatoes and has a much fresher taste. Try dipping your avocado slices in the sauce too – the flavors go together perfectly.
238 calories per serving
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 T cilantro
2 T lime juice
1 T prepared horseradish
1 T Worcestershire sauce
¼ t Kosher salt
¼ t pepper
(you can make this a day ahead)
24 fresh clean jumbo shrimp with tails on (if desired)
3 T lime juice
3 T chili sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
½ t Kosher salt
1/8 t pepper
4 ripe avocados, sliced
Prepare sauce and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Place shrimp in a zip loc bag with the juice, sauce and garlic and place in the refrigerator 1 hour. Heat grill and spray a grill basket with Pam. Drain shrimp and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill 7-8 minutes or until done. Serve with cocktail sauce and sliced avocados.
If you don’t have a grill, you can broil or pan fry the shrimp.
I am betting you can smell this cooking from all the way over there ! The parmesan and cheddar cheeses blend to perfection and the pasta…well, it just feeds the soul. The portion size will be cut down dramatically to come in at 400 calories if it were not for the FiberGourmet pasta.
399 calories per serving
10 oz. Fiber Gourmet Penne pasta
2 t oil
1 9 oz. yellow summer squash halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
1 9 oz. bag frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
4 scallions sliced thinly
1 bottled roasted red peppers, rinsed and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T flour
2 ½ c skim milk
¾ t salt
1 c grated no fat cheddar cheese
¼ c parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat and add squash, scallion, artichokes, peppers and garlic. Cook 7 minutes. Add flour and stir well and then gradually add milk. Add salt and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add the hot veggies and sauce to the pasta along with the cheddar cheese and mix well and turn into an 11×7 baking pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake ½ hour or until hot and crusty.
These steaks are just DELICIOUS! I had my doubts of how the pesto and parmesan flavors would go with steak, but this was just great. It was a mild yet super flavorful addition to the steak and added back a lot of moisture that grilling can deplete. Serve with a quick salad such as Tomato, Cucumber and Egg salad for a great BBQ meal.
284 calories per serving
2 beef rib eye steaks, about 1 ½ inches thick (2 pounds)
¼ c pesto sauce
2 T shredded parmesan cheese
1 T oil
Heat the grill. Make a horizontal slit in each steak to form a pocket and stuff with pesto and cheese and then press closed. Drizzle with oil and then grill 7 minutes each side or to desired doneness. Cut into thin strips before serving.