Tag Archives: basil

Greek Pasta Salad

You’d think this one would be bland with just the balsamic as the dressing – but that is definitely not the case. All the flavors from the peppers, cheese, olives, prosciutto and basil mix in with the vinegar to create a divinely simple and delicious to prepare lunch salad. And this filling salad is only 301 calories !

Greek Pasta Salad
Greek Pasta Salad

3 servings
301 calories per serving

9 oz. package of fresh tortellini
1 quart boiling water
1/3 c jarred roasted red peppers cut into 1 inch strips
1 oz pepper jack cheese cut into 1/4 inch cubes (about 1/4 cup)
8 grape tomatoes
8 pitted kalamata olives
6 canned artichoke hearts
2 thin slices prosciutto cut into strips
1 T chopped fresh basil
3 T balsamic vinegar

Cook pasta 7 minutes in boiling water. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool down. Drain. Combine pepper and the rest of the ingredients other than the tortellini. Mix well. Then add tortellini and toss gently.

Grilled Corn

A special parmesan butter atop a fresh grilled piece of corn just spells S U M M E R !!

Grilled Corn
Grilled Corn

4 servings
200 calories per serving

4 ears of corn, husked and cleaned
¼ c butter, softened
2 T parmesan cheese
2 t basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Shuck corn and clean it well. Wrap in foil and grill 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Grilled Corn
Grilled Corn

Mix butter, cheese and parsley. When corn is done, open foil and place a pat of butter on the corn. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Light Potato Salad

At only 160 calories, make this one often ! The lite buttermilk, lemon and wine is a nice change from your typical mayo and vinegar dressing. The flavor is right on and this will definitely satisfy your potato salad craving.

Light Potato Salad
Light Potato Salad

12 servings
160 calories per serving

4 lb. small red potatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c dry white wine
4 T lemon juice
½ c low fat buttermilk
¼ c low fat mayo
1 T Dijon mustard
1 c packed basil leaves sliced very thin
Cilantro for garnish

Add cold water to potatoes to cover them by 2 inches, cover and bring to a boil then add 1 t salt, recover and reduce heat to medium low and cook 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Add wine and 1 T lemon juice them toss and cool to room temperature.

Whisk buttermilk, mayo, mustard, ¼ t salt, pepper and 3 T lemon juice. Blend well and then toss with potatoes and basil.

Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce (Crock Pot)

I am very passionate about my sauce ! My Italian Grandma and Mom taught me well :) I have been making my own since I was 16 and over the years developed a recipe that is LOVED and CRAVED by many. That recipe included cooking sausage and meatballs in the sauce – and that gives it a very rich flavor. But it also adds calories. So in my quest to keep things lower cal, I’ve been trying a few batches of sauce without meat and this one is really, really good. It comes quite close to my regular recipe !

I’ve added beef bouillon to make up for some of the lost flavor from the meat, I’ve added roasted garlic which gives a great depth of flavor (much different than dropping in raw or sautéed garlic) and I make sure to use tomato paste. Tomato paste is to tomatoes what lemonade concentrate is to lemonade – – it is highly concentrated and adds a different flavor than any other tomato product out there. And finally I add 2 secret ingredients – shhhhhhh ! Fennel and anise seeds add the flavor you would get if you cooked sausage in the sauce. It is the finishing touch that so many sauces are missing. You only get the slightest hint of taste of the seeds in the finished product. But let me tell you, without them, the sauce is just not the same.

If you’ve never tried sauce before – try !! This one starts from canned products, not raw tomatoes – so it is NOT labor intensive. And even a bad batch of homemade is better than a jar of Ragu ;) It’s what makes a pasta meal special, so do it up !

Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce
Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce

12 servings
58 calories per serving

8 cloves roasted garlic, minced
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
¾ c water
1 T oil
2 t basil flakes
6 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 t oregano flakes
½ t red pepper flakes
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ t whole anise seeds
1 t whole fennel seeds
2 packets or 2 cubes beef bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot, cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours.

You can also put this in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes or simmer stove top for 2-3 hours.

The length of time does make a different – the sauce tastes much richer when simmered for hours than a quick sauce (which have their place in some recipes, but don’t equal a traditional slowly simmered sauce).


Freeze your extra portions and next time it’s pasta night, just defrost in the frig over night and quickly reheat in a sauce pan.

Let me know how you like it ! :)

Inside Out Stuffed Peppers

These are more delicious than regular stuffed peppers – the cream sauce mixes in with the meat and rice so beautifully – every ounce is coated and it makes for a super creamy taste sensation.

Inside Out Stuffed Peppers
Inside Out Stuffed Peppers

6 servings
311 calories per person

1 lb. lean ground turkey
2 green peppers, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c cooked brown rice or even use a chicken or beef flavored rice mix for extra flavor
16 oz. jarred marinara sauce
1 c shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 c cream cheese cooking creme (I used Philadelphia tomato and basil flavor)
1/4 c chopped basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat, peppers, salt and pepper in a large skillet. Add in garlic during the last minute of cooking. Drain and add rice, sauce, 1/2 c mozzarella and cream cheese. Mix well and spoon into a 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 c mozzarella and bake 25 minutes.

Roasted Green Beans

Get the pre-washed, pre-trimmed beans and your prep time is literally 1 minute. Using kosher salt can really make a difference in recipes and it does in this one. Kosher salt is a much larger crystal (much like sea salt) and instead of melting into the food, it kind of stays on the surface giving you a much bigger burst of the salt flavor – I think it works really well with green beans.

Roasted Green Beans
Roasted Green Beans

4 servings
42 calories per serving

1 pound fresh green beans
1/2 T olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
2 t minced fresh basil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Mix together green beans, oil, vinegar and basil. Place on a non-stick baking sheet in one layer and roast for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

White Fish with Lime Basil Pesto

This pesto sauce is so incredibly flavorful that you will want to put it on everything. Usually pestos have nuts in them – the subtraction of the nuts leaves you with a lighter pesto and this one would go great with so many different dishes.

White Fish with Lime Basil Pesto
White Fish with Lime Basil Pesto

4 servings
226 calories per serving

1 c basil leaves
¼ c grated parmesan
½ t grated lime zest
2 T lime juice
1 ½ T oil
¼ t salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 6 ounce sea bass fillets (or other white fish)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pam

Mix basil, parm, lime juice and zest, oil, garlic and salt in a food processor until very finely chopped.

Spray a skillet with Pam and cook fish 3-4 minutes per side or until done. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with basil blend.

Chicken Cacciatore in a Snap

For years I used MY standard chicken cacciatore recipe and I was very wary of trying a new one. Let me tell you, this one really fits the bill for a tasty, flavor packed, nutritious version that will quickly become one of your favorites.

Chicken Cacciatore in a Snap
Chicken Cacciatore in a Snap

4 servings
297 calories per serving

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 t oregano flakes
1/2 t basil flakes
1/4 t red pepper flakes
Pam
2 c sliced mushrooms
3/4 c chopped bell pepper
1 1/2 c fat free marinara sauce
1/4 c water
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T sliced fresh basil

Heat a large skillet on medium high and spray with Pam. Add chicken to pan with oregano, basil and red pepper. Saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in sauce, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and water and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with cheese and fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Lemony Orzo and Tuna

This is one of the pasta salads you will make again and again. The added protein from the tuna makes this a great complete meal, or you can serve as a side to any salad for a great lunch or light dinner.

Lemony Orzo and Tuna
Lemony Orzo and Tuna

6 servings
256 calories per serving

3/4 c orzo
1/2 t grated lemon zest
3 T lemon juice
1 T oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t minced garlic
½ t red pepper flakes
1 c drained and flaked tuna fish
1/2 c diced English cucumber
1/2 c chopped red bell pepper
1/3 c scallions, sliced into thin rings
1 T sliced basil
1/2 c crumbled goat cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain, rinse to stop the cooking process and place in a bowl. Mix lemon zest, oil, garlic, pepper flakes, salt, pepper and mix with the pasta. Add fish, cucumber, pepper and scallions and mix well. Place and sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Mozzarella and Tomato with Balsamic Vinegar

This is best with fresh mozzarella (it is WIDELY available at regular and gourmet markets as well as cheese shops) and fresh garden tomatoes.

Mozzarella and Tomato with Balsamic Vinegar
Mozzarella and Tomato with Balsamic Vinegar

4 servings
177 calories per serving

4 2 oz. slices of mozzarella cheese
4 large tomato slices
4 basil leaves
4 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place cheese on plate and top with tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then top with basil leaves and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

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