Category Archives: Recipes

Eight Of My Favorite Diet Breakfasts

I’ve never been much for eating breakfast. Even as a kid, I could take it or leave it. But all the nutritionists agree, it’s an important meal. So I’ve adapted. I even have a few favorites.

  1. If you’re on-the-go, grab one of those six packs of crackers. I like Lance brand the best and most of them are only 130 calories.
  2. Since summer is right around the corner, I like to eat cantaloupe and cottage cheese.
  3. Any other time of the year, you can eat one of those Cottage Doubles that Breakstone sells in the dairy section of your supermarket. They’re only 100 calories. I spread the mixture on 3 or 4 saltines or graham crackers.
  4. I also like peanut butter and sliced banana on rice cakes or whole wheat toast, but remember if you’re trying to keep your fruit per day down to 2, then a whole banana counts as 2 fruit. Your daily intake is done for the day, but if you like peanuts and bananas, it’s worth it.
  5. 1/2 large bagel (or a small one that you can find in the supermarket freezer) with cream cheese. Go for a little zing and use some fruity cream cheese. I love the strawberry. Plus this is a pretty filling breakfast. Or you can forget the traditional cream cheese and exchange it for a slice of Swiss cheese and warm it in a toaster oven.
  6. Another good idea is to keep frozen fruit in your freezer i.e. blueberries, bing cherries, pineapples. Throw a couple of them into a packet of Instant Quaker Oatmeal, add water and microwave. You’ll be surprised how wonderful oatmeal tastes with plump cherries. Try a different fruit each morning. It’s addictive.
  7. On the weekend, when you have a little more time, spoil yourself and prepare an egg, some turkey sausage and a slice of toast.
  8. My one last suggestion to you is to keep a supply of fresh vegetables in your freezer. They’re every bit as important to have as the fruit. I always have chopped onions, scallions, bell peppers and chives in my freezer. I chop them when I bring them home from the supermarket. The beauty of having them handy is, you can whip up a really great breakfast with them. Scramble 1 large egg and 1 egg white with any or all of the above veggies mentioned. Serve over a toasted English Muffin or bread of your choice. You won’t feel deprived at all.

Each of the breakfasts above can be topped off with a cup of tea or coffee. Personally, I forego fruit juice because I don’t like to drink my calories, but if that’s your passion, go for it. Just remember if you have apple juice in the morning, you can’t have that apple in the afternoon.

The other thing you’ll find missing from my list is cold cereal. That’s because I like all the “wrong” kinds of cereals–all those sugary flakes and stuff like that. My best defense is to leave them on the shelves at the supermarket.

My final word of caution–if you’d prefer to grab a granola bar in the morning, check the calories. Some of them are deadly.

Dieting vs Halloween Candy

So, the Halloween candy is hanging around. And you want it! You swear that Snickers bar is calling your name every time you pass the table.

Here’s the skinny on this sticky situation. Eat the darn thing. It’s a 100 calorie snack. It will give you a boost of energy and your sweet tooth won’t feel denied.

If you’re more the Hershey kiss type, feel free to enjoy four of them–another 100 calorie treat.

Dieting doesn’t have to be all bad news.

Easy Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Last week I cooked a dish that called for broccoli florets. So there I was–stuck with the leftover stems. What to do. What to do. I chopped them up, threw them into a ziploc bag and put them in the frig.

Today I decided to make this soup. It turned out to be a good, delicious decision.

5 cups water
2 (14 oz) packages frozen, chopped broccoli
OR fresh broccoli, if you have it.
3 cups diced potatoes
¾ cup chopped onion
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cans cream of celery soup
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
6 oz Colby jack cheese, cubed

Cook the first 5 ingredients for 20 minutes (1/2 hour if using fresh broccoli).

Reduce heat and add soup and cheeses.  Simmer until cheese is melted.

Stir often so cheese does not stick.

Quick & Easy Shepherd’s Pie

1 lb. ground beef, lean
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 or 2 cans of your favorite vegetable (or leftover veggies)
Instant Mashed Potatoes, you choose the amount of servings
OPTIONALS: Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 can Creamed Corn

Cook beef and onions in skillet until the meat is browned. Spoon into a baking casserole dish.

Prepare instant mashed potatoes. Add Shredded Cheddar, if you like. ** Place the prepared potatoes around the edges of the casserole dish on top of the beef.

Fill the center with vegetables (If using canned veggies, remember to drain beforehand.)

Bake in 425 oven for 15 minutes.   Serves 3 or 4 people.

**FOR A CHANGE OF PACE – Pour the can of creamed corn, straight from the can, over the beef, BEFORE adding the potatoes and veggies. Great!

6 Easy Diet Snacks

I’ve already demonstrated how to cook perfect hard-boiled eggs in my previous post, and they are the first items on my snack list, as well as on Heidi Klum’s.

  1. 2 Hard-boiled Eggs (only 150 calories)
  2. Eat your favorite cereal straight from the box. No milk? More cereal!
  3. Look for The Laughing Cow light cheese spread triangles in the dairy case. 1 triangle = 35 calories. (I can vouch for the Swiss flavor–it doesn’t taste like artificial muck!) 1 triangle easily covers 6 or 7 saltine crackers.
  4. Rice Cake smeared with 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter and 1/2  sliced banana
  5. Low-fat Cottage Cheese with plenty of fresh blueberries mixed in
  6. Listen up! There are 15 calories in a tablespoon of ReddiWip. Think about that. You can add some really good zippitydoodah to that blah jello. Live a little. Spritz on two whole tablespoons. I’m not talking about that fat free stuff, either. This is the real deal. Jello with fruit with a large dollop of whipped cream. Heaven help us!

Helpful Hints You Probably Already Know:

  • Don’t drink your calories.
  • Stay away from sweets.
  • Eat every morsel of food s-l-o-w-l-y.
  • Be realistic. If you lose one pound in a week, that’s “great.” If you lose 1/2 pound in a week, that’s “very, very good.”
  • Homemade vegetable soup is your friend. It’s easy to make. Empty a large can of chicken broth into a pot. Put every imaginable vegetable you have handy (fresh or frozen) into the broth. Cook over medium heat for at least an hour. Separate into 2-cup containers (or larger, if you want – there’s no limit to the amount you can eat). Then keep the containers handy in the frig and freezer.
  • I’m not even going to mention exercise, because that’s such a pain in the butt. But remember, if you walk down every aisle in the supermarket, or you shop at the mall. Hey, you’re walking–Excellent!
  • Most Important – Don’t beat yourself up. If you hate broiled scallops, but love fried scallops, what the heck. Order them, but fill the rest of your plate with veggies. Also start you meal with a salad. And stick with the cocktail sauce, not the tartar sauce. There you are–no guilty conscience at all.

The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

“It’s so hard to peel a hard-boiled egg.” I hear this complaint over and over again. Therefore, I think it is time for me to share my secret.

Also, you might like to know. Heidi Klum’s exercise guru says that Heidi insists hard boiled eggs be available for that time of day when she needs to have a snack, something filling, but low in calories.

So, here you have it. This takes exactly 20 minutes.

Gently place eggs in pan. Cover with water. Eggs should fit tightly in the pan. You don’t want them rolling around while boiling.

Place pan on burner set on “high.”

The 20 minutes starts now. Set your timer.

Only lower the heat if your pot begins to spit or overflow, but keep the water boiling.

When the timer goes off, plunge the pan under cold running water and fill the pan immediately with ice cubes. The eggs must chill rapidly. Shut off the water and allow pan with cubes to sit for 10 minutes. Replenish ice cubes, if necessary.

Refrigerate eggs.

Now, for the crucial peeling. Crack the shell, not just a little. After you’ve started to crack it, roll it lightly along the counter. It will almost begin to peel itself. Finish peeling. Voila! Beautiful, shiny, smooth egg – ready to eat. Enjoy.

Recipe For Buttermilk Pie

Here’s a story about Buttermilk Pie.

A few years ago, my friend went to Texas for a week. She ate lunch in the same diner every afternoon for a week, and each time, she topped her meal off with their buttermilk pie. She had never tasted it before. By the end of the week, she managed to wangle the recipe from the cook.

When she returned to work, she laid the recipe on my desk and said, “Make it. You won’t be sorry.” I said, “Why don’t you make it?” She said, “I know it will taste better if you make it for me.”

The truth is anyone can make it. And I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. The best part – it’s mistake-proof. Take that as my word of honor, since I am not and never will be a superb baker. Great cook–yes! Baker–no!

You’ve got to try this.

Buttermilk Pie

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 tsp real vanilla
pinch of salt
1 pie shell (9 inch) (I use a ready made Pillsbury shell. You thaw it and then roll it into the pie pan–easy)

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Top of pie will be golden brown.

Bruschetta & Crostini

Someone asked me this week, if I had any good recipes for Bruschetta. Here they are. If you use a smaller loaf of bread, like French bread, the tasty morsels automatically become Crostini. You can serve them as an appetizer, while waiting for the main course to be served, or eat them right along with your meal. Superb!

Bruschetta – Tomato & Basil

Use 8 thick slices of Italian bread

Rub both sides with 2 large halved cloves of garlic OR sprinkle sparingly with garlic powder

Brush both sides with virgin olive oil

Toast the bread or, if you prefer, broil in oven-making sure to brown both sides.


4 ripe tomatoes, cored and diced

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

Salt, pepper

Spread on bread or serve separately so that each guest can prepare their own.

Bruschetta – Tomato & Mozzarella

Prepare Italian bread as above, but DO NOT toast.

Top each slice of bread with shredded mozzarella. Broil till the cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven and top each slice with diced fresh tomato and fresh or dried oregano. (Go easy on the oregano)

Bruschetta – Garlic, Butter and Cheese

Use 8 thick slices of Italian bread

Spread with thin coat of butter (real butter)

Sprinkle with garlic powder (sparingly)

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese covering the entire surface

Broil until golden

Top each slice with diced fresh tomatoes or eat “as is” with no tomato added.

Good For The Waistline, Good For The Pocketbook, Too


It’s time to cut out some of the fast food drop-ins on your way home from work. Notice I say some, because there are days when you’re just too tired to cook, or you don’t have time to cook, or you’ve got to have a greasy cheeseburger, no matter what!

On those days when there’s no getting around it, be prepared. It doesn’t have to be a fast food burger. I buy a pound of ground beef, but instead of freezing it, I shape it into four burgers (very simple–nothing whatsoever added to it). Those individually wrapped burgers are always in my freezer. I freeze burger buns, too. Instant meal!

And if you want to make it healthier, smother every burger with tomato, lettuce, pickle, onion and a little cheese. The more lettuce, the better. It adds crunch.

Another thing you might want to consider is, once the kitchen is cleaned after dinner, put up the “Closed” sign. I don’t mean literally, but I remember my mother wiped and dried her kitchen sink. She shined the faucet and folded the towel and, believe me, you didn’t mess up her sink after that. It was her way of closing the kitchen for the night. It was a good policy. No one in our family had a weight problem back then.

And, incidentally, if you want to read a book about losing weight the fun way, try reading a book written by Janice Taylor titled All Is Forgiven, Move On. I mention her book because one of her suggestions is to close your kitchen at 9:20 p.m. every night.  My mom was doing that back in the 50’s.

Janice also has some nifty charts, some great recipes and motivation ideas for getting healthy and staying that way.

You might also want to visit Janice’s site It’s an interesting read.

Italian Beef Casserole Recipe

I have been a cooking fool today. You can always tell when I’ve been cooking up a storm–my kitchen is a mess. But the results are usually excellent. Here’s one of the things I’ve been cookin’.

Italian Beef Casserole

This one takes a little more time, but there is plenty leftover. It freezes well.

2 lbs ground beef, chop into bite size pieces while it’s browning
2 tblspns olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each of dried oregano and basil
salt and black pepper
1 green pepper, chopped
1-6 oz. can black pitted olives, drained and halved
8 oz macaroni or spaghetti
1-28 oz can tomatoes
1 can corn, drained
1 cup cheddar cheese, cubed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1-8 oz can tomato sauce
Cook the macaroni/spaghetti. Cook 2 minutes less than box instructions

While the pasta is cooking – In a large pot or skillet, brown ground beef, garlic and onions in olive oil. Add the oregano, basil, salt and black pepper. Stir frequently. When meat is browned sufficiently, add green pepper, black olives, canned tomatoes, corn and the cooked pasta.

Blend in the cubed cheddar cheese.

Turn into a large casserole baking pan. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. Cover. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately swirl the tomato sauce over the top of the casserole.

Serve with Italian or French loaf of bread. This should feed 8 to 10 hungry people.

Note: I like to serve a Caesar Salad to start off. That’s when I bring out the loaves of bread and sweet cream butter. Decadent, I know! But to make up for it, I serve assorted fresh fruit for dessert.

For those who are following my Chinese Zodiac series, see Year of the Rooster