Tag Archives: basil

Pesto and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheesy sandwiches – they make it on this ‘diet’ plan of mine and I am so happy about it ! To make them more sensible, use low fat cheeses, add flavor in the way of herbs, and be sure to use Pam and buttery spray. And then off you go – the variations are endless and here is a great Italian inspired one.

Pesto and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese
Pesto and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

6 servings
285 calories per serving

1/4 c low fat pesto
12 1 oz. slices sourdough bread
12 3/4 oz. slices part skim mozzarella cheese
6 1/4 inch thick slices tomato
18 large basil leaves
I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray

Spread 1 t pesto on each slice of bread. Top 6 slices of bread with a cheese slice, a tomato slice, 3 basil leaves, and another cheese slice. Top with remaining bread slice. Spray outsides of sandwiches with at least 5 sprays per side. Heat skillet on medium heat and spray with Pam. Add sandwiches, as many as will fit in a batch. Cook 2-3 minutes each side or until cheese is melted. You can use a Panini press here and the cheese will melt even nicer 🙂

Zucchini and Tomato Salad

Most don’t think to use zucchini in its raw state – but it is marvelously crunchy and mellow and a great addition to salads. This salad is mainly zucchini and it’s really tasty.

Zucchini and Tomato Salad
Zucchini and Tomato Salad

5 servings
117 calories per serving

1 garlic clove, minced
2 T red vinegar
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 c oil
2 1/4 c thinly sliced zucchini
1 1/2 c grape tomatoes, halved
1 T fresh chopped basil

Combine garlic, vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper. Add oil and whisk well. Add zucchini and tomatoes and toss gently. Sprinkle with basil just before serving.

Corn and Zucchini

A very simple and different side dish – feel free to substitute fresh corn kernels.

Corn and Zucchini
Corn and Zucchini

4 servings
159 calories per serving

1 can corn
1 T oil
1 medium zucchini
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 t white vinegar

Heat oil over medium high heat. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and slice into half moons. Add zucchini and garlic to pan. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add corn and season with salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes then remove from heat and stir in vinegar and basil.

Lemony Green Beans

Way better than the standard green bean and Durkee onion casserole ! So much fresher and oodles more flavor !!

Lemony Green Beans
Lemony Green Beans

4 servings
49 calories per serving

1 pound green beans in 1 inch pieces
2 teaspoons butter sprinkles (I Use Molly McButter)
2 teaspoons finely chopped basil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon oil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large pan, bring 1 inch water to a boil and place the beans on a steaming rack inside the pan. Cover and steam for 5 – 7 minutes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the butter, basil, zest, oil and pepper. Mix well and serve immediately.

Eggplant Pizza

This one really hits the spot ! I spice it up a little by adding crushed red pepper flakes 🙂 Don’t like eggplant, then substitute tomato slices. But be sure to give this one a try.

Eggplant Pizza
Eggplant Pizza

4 servings
295 calories per serving

1/2 c marinara sauce
1 10 oz. Boboli (precooked pizza shell available at all food markets)
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 c part skim ricotta
2 T parmesan cheese
2 T thinly sliced basil
Dried oregano flakes
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread sauce on Boboli. Sprinkle with a little dried oregano flakes, onion powder and garlic powder. Top with eggplant slices and drop ricotta by tablespoonfuls evenly over the eggplant. Bake directly on oven rack 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and parmesan right when it comes out of the oven.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

This is a great low calorie side to any lunch or dinner. In the summer, I substitute heirloom tomatoes from the local farmer’s market. Regular cucumber can be used, but English cucumbers have many less seeds and I find them more enjoyable. I often substitute fresh herbs if I have them around (parsley, basil, dill, chives, etc.)

Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Tomato and Cucumber Salad

4 servings
38 calories per serving

1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut in thin slices
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
½ t oregano flakes
½ t basil flakes
¼ t red pepper flakes
4 T vinegar

Place all in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let flavors mix.

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