Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Works for me Wednesday: Decorating an Easter table

Having any kind of family dinner is Decorating the table seems to be the last thing you think about! I hosted Easter last year and found some table decorating tips that I thought I would share!

* Find paper plates that look nice and add color. PLUS... no cleaning dishes. You can just visit with your friends and family!

*I always combine "real" silverware and glasses with paper products. Why not? It looks nice and is easy to wash some silverware....not so much about china!

* Use fresh flowers for the centerpieces....then give them to your guests to take home. (In this case I used both tulip plates and live potted tulips- I love how it looked bright!)

*Use what you have. I love glass cylinders that can be used in so many ways. Fresh fruit, Christmas tree bulbs, candy, you name can make a beautiful centerpiece with things around your house!

* Think Spring. Birds nests, flowers cut from the garden and even your dyed Easter eggs can make any table look lovely. (I have even see blooming branches cut and placed on the table along with some votive candles. )

It is my believe that making things lovely for you guests is a blessing to them...and that works for this mama!

For more great WFMW ideas visit We are That Family!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A low-Fat Easter

Ahhhh spring! The sound of birds, the warmer air, tulips blooming.....and bathing suit season looming. Eeeck!

I have a lovely aunt who lives in Texas. She was asking me for some low-fat Easter recipes and I thought that was a great idea! So in honor of my Aunt L, here is a complete Easter menu that is low-fat and totally delicious. There is no recipe for the fruit kabobs since its whatever type of fruit that you would like to serve. I love strawberries, fresh pineapple, starfruit, grapes...anything! It looks lovely on the skewers across a plate. ( You could also provide some melted chocolate to be really decadent :) )

Low-Fat Easter brunch!

Low fat Ham and cheese Strata
Herbed pork tenderloin
Garlic mashed potatoes
Tomato and asparagus salad
Fruit kabobs
Guilt free carrot cake

Low fat ham and cheese strata
10 ounces day-old Italian or French bread, cut into cubes
2 whole eggs
4 egg whites
2 cups skim milk
1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 slices lean cooked ham. chopped
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat an 11 X 7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and egg whites together. Add milk, half the cheese, mustard, spinach and ham. Stir well. Add bread cubes and toss well. Pour egg and bread mixture into baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
Serves 8.
Per Serving: Calories 203, Calories from Fat 51, Total Fat 5.7g (sat 2.6g), Cholesterol 67mg, Sodium 564mg, Carbohydrate 23.8g, Fiber 2.2g, Protein 14.3g

Herbed pork tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin
1/4 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Trim pork tenderloin of excess fat. Spray pork briefly with nonstick cooking spray. Rub with fresh herb mixture.

Place pork in a small, shallow roasting pan, tucking thin end of tenderloin under to ensure even roasting.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, until an internal thermometer reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit, and the juices run clear. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, allowing the temperature to reach 160 degrees. Slice thinly.

Serves 4
Per Serving: Calories 132, Calories from Fat 35, Total Fat 3.9g (sat 1.3g), Cholesterol 72mg, Sodium 58mg, Carbohydrate 0.3g, Fiber 0.2g, Protein 23.9g

Garlic Mashed potatoes
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup fat-free milk, warmed
1/3 cup fat -free sour cream
1/2 tsp black pepper
Chives, freshly chopped
Boil potatoes and garlic cloves in a large saucepan for 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain and return to pan. Add heated milk plus sour cream to potatoes and garlic, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Use a little more milk if you prefer thinner mashed potatoes. Add black pepper to taste. Garnish with some chopped chives.

Serves 6.
Per Serving Calories 124, Calories from Fat 1, Total Fat 0.2g (Sat 0g), Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 36mg, Carbohydrate 26.9g, Fiber 3.5g, Protein 3.8g

Tomato and asparagus salad
1/2 bunch thin to medium asparagus stalks
4 medium, ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly and vertically
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
Break off bottom third of asparagus spears. Steam asparagus until bright green and tender-crisp—about 3 to 4 minutes. Plunge asparagus in cold water to stop cooking process, then drain. Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, asparagus, onion and cilantro. Whisk together lemon juice, oil and cumin (or place in a small screw-top jar and shake vigorously). Drizzle dressing over tomato and asparagus mixture and serve.

Serves 6
Per Serving: Calories 72, Calories from Fat 25, Total Fat 2.9g (sat 0.5g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 14mg, Carbohydrate 9.6g, Fiber 2.4g, Protein 2.2g

Guilt Free Carrot cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup fat-free cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk. In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar slowly, followed by the applesauce, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir until just moist. Stir in the pineapple, carrots, raisins and walnuts. Spoon batter into baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting:
Beat cream cheeses together with lemon juice and vanilla. Add in powdered sugar until desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake.

Cut cake into 16 squares.
Per Serving: Calories 269, Calories from Fat 29, Total Fat 3.3g (sat 1.1g), Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 244mg, Carbohydrate 54.9g, Fiber 2.7g, Protein 5g

Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday:

This week is boring I am afraid! It is the week before Easter which means a whole lot of mama running around like a chicken with her head cut off. :) So its basic, standard, easy to cook meals so that I can get all that I need to get done! I am doing a delicious (and easy) chicken noodle soup in the crock pot since it is rainy and cold here. I can even freeze what I have left in little containers to take out for lunches. Feel free to substitute bone-in, skin on chicken or even a whole roasting chicken in this recipe. Just de-skin and remove bones when shredding the chicken and skim any fat off of the soup. Happy Eating y'all!

Monday: Leftover buffet- if its in the fridge you can eat it, but mama is not cookin!

Tuesday: Slow cooker chicken noodle soup, (Recipe below) biscuits

Wednesday: Grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, roasted rosemary potatoes

Thursday: Beef taco's, re fried beans, Spanish Rice

Friday: Pizza night, salad

Saturday: Fish and chips, green beans

Sunday: Sunday dinner at Moms- HE IS RISEN!!!

Slow Cooker Chicken and noodle soup

8 cups water or chicken broth
1 cup carrot, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2bay leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
4 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
3 skinless / boneless chicken breasts
3 cups egg noodles, uncooked

In 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl, combine water, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, 4 t salt, 1/2 t pepper.

Place chicken on top of vegetables.

Cover slow cooker with lid and cook as manufacturer directs on low setting 8 to 10 hours or on high 4-5 hours.

Transfer chicken to cutting board. Discard bay leaves. Add noodles to slow-cooker; cover with lid and cook (on low or high) 20 minutes.

While noodles cook, shred meat.

Return chicken to soup to serve.