Sunday, June 26, 2022

Summer Salads...Featuring Weekend Brunch Salad #healthy2022 #healthyanddelish #summereats #saladdays

Summer is in full swing! For me? That means eating more fresh produce and salads. Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite salad creations that's a perfect Summer brunch...or light lunch. My Weekend Brunch Salad includes some of my favorite breakfast items...presented in a main dish salad form. The taste is familiar...but new and refreshing. It's also filling without leaving you feeling stuffed! The fact that it's lower in fat and carbs is a healthy bonus.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Summer Grilling...Myron Mixon's Keto-Friendly BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts #ketobbq #chicken #bacon #protein

It's Summer...which means it's time to break out the BBQ grill and get cooking! If you're watching your carb intake, Myron Mixon's BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts -- which feature an easy homemade BBQ sauce/marinade and a simple homemade sugar-free chicken spice rub -- are a great grilling option! Marinated and spice-rubbed chicken breasts are wrapped in bacon before hitting the grill. The end result is chicken breast that's supremely juicy and flavorful...with a perfect smoky flavor. Everyone who tries this dish gives it gave an enthusiastic thumbs up!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Gearing Up for Memorial Day...Featuring Spicy Cheese-Stuffed Shrimp with Andouille Rice Pilaf #memorialdayfood #grilling #shrimp #summerfood

Memorial Day is coming up on Monday! Most importantly, it's a day to reflect and remember military members who have given their lives protecting our country. These days, Memorial Day is also widely considered the official start of Summer...and a time for family and friends to gather. That typically includes cooking and eating delicious food! I have a perfect grilling recipe that features wild caught Gulf shrimp. 
My Spicy Cheese-Stuffed Shrimp with Andouille Rice Pilaf is perfect for al fresco dining and entertaining. This flavorful dish combines many of my favorite flavors in one bite! Jumbo shrimp are stuffed with aged cheddar cheese. Then, they're brushed with a spicy basting sauce as they grill. The shrimp are served over an easy rice pilaf that’s flavored with spicy andouille sausage, onion, and garlic. This dish comes to the table assembled on a pretty has lots of eye appeal. Trust me…you’re going to make this dish all Summer long! If you're reducing your carb intake these days like I am? Simply use cauliflower rice instead of traditional rice.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

ABRAMS Dinner Party Spotlight: Giveaway!! Alton Brown's Good Eats 4...The Final Years #GoodEatsTheFinalYears #abramsdinnerparty #giveaway #sponsored #cookbook

I'm so excited to host a fun giveaway that I know y'all will absolutely love!! The next featured book for the ABRAMS Dinner Party blogging group is Alton Brown's Good Eats 4: The Final Years. This eagerly anticipated final volume in the best-selling Good Eats cookbook series features two different reboots of Brown's popular and iconic Food Network Good Eats program. This companion cookbook features 150+ recipes and eye-popping photography. Some recipes that immediately caught my eye included Broiled Butterflied Chicken, Green Shakshuka, Chocolate Mocha Refrigerator Cake, and a comfort classic...meatloaf.
In addition to rock-solid recipes that always yield good results, Brown includes detailed notes -- some in his own handwriting -- and handy hints that go beyond simple recipes. His recipes also provide insight into food science, history, and proven cooking techniques that help home cooks improve and refine their cooking skills....and increase their culinary knowledge. Both zany and methodical, Brown's writing is a fun read! Brown was working as a television commercial director when he decided to make a career change...going to culinary school and reinventing the concept of what a television cooking show could be! Good Eats has been a popular program for more than two decades. These companion cookbooks allow viewers to cook Brown's recipes in their own kitchens. And now? One of you is going to win a copy of Good Eats 4 for your private cookbook collection!

Entry is super easy...simply follow the directions provided in the Rafflecopter below!
I'll be taking entries until 11:59 CST on Wednesday 5/25. The winner will be selected and notified the following day via e-mail...and will have 24 hours to respond with their mailing address. If there is no response in this timeframe, a new winner will be selected. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Good luck!

Disclosure: ABRAMS Publishing provided me a copy of Good Eats 4: The Final Years to facilitate this giveaway. All opinions shared are solely my own.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

ABRAMS Dinner Party Spotlight: Gullah Geechee Home Cooking...Featuring Shrimp Salad #GullahGeecheeHomeCooking #shrimpsalad #summerfood #noovencooking #seafood #shrimp

The next featured cookbook for the ABRAMS Dinner Party blogging group is Gullah Geechee Home Cooking. This encyclopedic collection of Gullah Geechee recipes is authored by Emily Meggett, the 89-year-old matriarch of South Carolina's Edisto Island. The history of the Gullah and Geechee people goes back hundreds of years, when enslaved members of the community were historically isolated from the rest of the South due to their location on the Sea Islands of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. This Lowcountry community now represents a direct link to traditional culture, language, and foodways of their West African ancestors. Ms. Meggett has lived on Edisto Island her entire life, and her house is a place of pilgrimage for anyone with an interest in Gullah Geechee food. 

Meggett’s Gullah food is rich and flavorful, although it's often lighter and more seasonal in nature than typical Southern cuisine. Heirloom rice, fresh local seafood, regional game, and in-season vegetables are key to her recipes for regional delicacies like fried oysters, collard greens, and stone-ground grits. So many recipes caught my eye, including Ms. Meggett's Shrim and Grits with Gravy, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Baked Cheese Grits. Ultimately, I opted to try her simple recipe for Shrimp Salad. This versatile creamy salad can be spooned into toasted buns for shrimp roll sandwiches. If you're watching your carb intake like I am? This cold Shrimp Salad is very delicious as the centerpiece of a crisp vegetable salad. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

ABRAMS Dinner Party...Roasted Tomatillo Salsa from Colu Cooks #homemade #freshsalsa #justaddchips #texmex #ColuCooks

The next cookbook I'm sharing as part of the ABRAMS Publishing Dinner Party blogging group is Colu Cooks -- Easy Fancy Food. Colu Henry has written for both the New York Times and Bon Appetit. From this experience, she's learned that home cooks prefer unfussy recipes that taste great and are easy/quick to make. I totally agree! Colu Cooks features 100+ recipes designed to get home cooks out of their weeknight dinner rut by trying new streamlined dishes. Henry encourages readers to step out of their comfort zone and try new-to-them ingredients and cooking techniques. She does this in a very approachable manner. Even better? Most recipes are ready to eat in about 45 minutes. I'm featuring her simple recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. I love salsa...but I've never made it from scratch. With Henry's recipe, it was incredibly easy to make fresh tomatillo salsa at home! In about 3o minutes, I had 2 cups of delicious green salsa. I've used this versatile salsa several different ways this week. If you're like me and have never made your own salsa? I promise it's super easy...and very economical. I paid about $3 for the four simple ingredients needed to make this spicy-tangy salsa.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

It's Grilling Season...Featuring Surf and Turf Tacos #alfrescodining #grillingandchilling #proteinpower

Welcome to May...and the official start of grilling season. We actually grill pretty much year-round in Texas...but we do it a lot more as the weather gets warmer.  Tacos -- especially taco salads these days -- are one of my most favorite foods. What's not to like?!?!? They're versatile...and they feature the Big Flavors we crave at my house! My Surf and Turf Tacos are perfect for those times when you just can't decide whether you're hungry for shrimp or beef...because they feature both! Add in a colorful avocado-corn salsa, a bit of sour cream or Greek yogurt, and some lowfat shredded cheese -- and you've got yourself one fabulous meal. To save time, the shrimp and beef can be added to the simple marinade the night before and refrigerated. Then, these tacos can be on the table in about 30 minutes the next day!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

New Outer Aisle Broccoli SandwichThins...Featuring Spinach Ricotta-Pesto Veggie Broccoli Thin Pizzas #healthypizzea #vegfriendly #meatlessmonday #lesscarbs #healthypizza

One of my go-to ingredients since starting my healthy lifestyle journey last May is Outer Aisle's Cauliflower Sandwich Thins and Pizza Crusts. Their thins are lower in carbs...with added protein. They're also free of grains and glutens. I use versatile Outer Aisle thins to make healthier versions of favorite foods like pizzas/flatbreads, tostadas, burgers and sandwiches...and even quesadillas. I'm currently down 88 pounds (!!) without feeling a smidge of deprivation or boredom in the process. Outer Aisle recently introduced a new item to their lineup: Broccoli Sandwich Thins. They're a convenient and tasty swap for bread, tortillas, and wraps. Even better? They're made with simple ingredients like fresh broccoli, cage-free eggs, aged parmesan, and nutritional yeast. I like to toast the rounds in my air fryer or oven for the crispiest experience.

I used Outer Aisle Broccoli Thins to make delicious meatless mini pizzas. My Spinach Ricotta-Pesto Broccoli Thin Pizzas feature a creamy base, light mozzarella, and caramelized seasonal veggies. The end result is proof positive that healthy food doesn't mean deprivation OR settling. This is simply the way I eat these days...delicious, healthy food! Here's a tutorial video that shows how to create these veg-friendly pizzas:

Outer Aisle Broccoli Sandwich Thins and single serving Pizza Crusts are available at grocery stores across the U.S. To find Outer Aisle products near you, check out their convenient Find a Store feature -- which is searchable by zip code. Outer Aisle products can also be ordered direct to your front door from their Outer Aisle website.

Disclosure: Outer Aisle provided me with sample products to facilitate recipe development for this feature. As always, all opinions shared are solely my own!

Monday, April 4, 2022

Flashback Tutorial: Creating a Festive...and Tasty...Easter Basket Sweets Centerpiece #tutorial #eastercraft #easterfun #eatersweets

Easter is coming up in less than 2 weeks...can you believe how quickly this year is hopping along?!? For Easter a couple of years ago, I teamed with my Mom to create a festive Easter tablescape in her dining room. It turned out so cute! The tutorial post was so popular that I'm re-sharing the step-by-step instructions to create this Easter Basket centerpiece this year. The end result is adorable to look at...and it features an array of tasty Easter treats your guests can enjoy! I promise my Easter tablescape is so simple to make that literally ANYONE can do it. Feel free to customize the tablescape to include your favorite Easter décor and flavors. All you need is a large Easter basket and crinkly Easter grass, fun Easter candy and confections, and other seasonal décor you have on hand. The key is to have fun and let your imagination inspire you!

Step 1: Gather Your Easter Décor and Goodies. Having your supplies set up around the table before you start assembling -- same principle as mise en place when cooking -- lets you see exactly what items you have to work with. My Easter tablescape is comprised of treats that range in size from large to small...and tall to nearly flat. This variation provides a nice visual appeal to the final tablescape. You'll notice I started with a floral tablecloth on the table. Because I want everyone's eyes to focus on the festive centerpiece, I switched to a solid tablecloth. I chose pastel pink to match my Easter décor...but any pastel or light green tablecloth will also work.
Step 2: Place a Large Easter Basket In the Center of the Table, Then Determine Its Focal Point. The Easter basket is the main visual focus of your tablescape. Mom had a large white basket with pink ribbon trim and pretty pastel accents. The focal point of this Easter basket is a large solid chocolate bunny
Step 3: Fill In the Easter Basket with Sweet Treats of Various Heights. The chocolate bunny is the focal point of our basket...but he's just the start! Along the back of the Easter basket, I inserted a trio of adorable hand-decorated Easter bunny cookies. These large cookies came on sticks, which I anchored into floral foam placed under the basket's multicolor grass. Next, I strategically placed a variety of my family's favorite Easter candy and sweet treats.

Step 4: Place a Circle of Green Easter Grass Around the Bottom of the Basket. This grassy area is a perfect way to incorporate bite-sized treats into the tablescape. I added bite-size caramel and chocolate eggs, mini sandwich cookies, small, and treat size candies in Spring/Easter colors. These items looked like colorful Easter eggs hidden in the grass just waiting to be found! Mom has tons of great Easter décor, so I placed a white porcelain bunny at the edge of the grass to guard the candy from sneaky hands.
That's it...simple step-by-step instructions to create a festive and fun Easter tablescape! It provides a gorgeous focal point for your Easter table, and the treats in and around the Easter basket are perfect for family and friends to enjoy as part of dessert. Remember...the key is to have fun, and let your personal creativity shine! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

ABRAMS Dinner Party Spotlight On Salad Freak...Featuring Shrimp Louie Salad #SaladFreakBook #healthy2022 #healthyeating #saladlover

It's time to kick off the Spring 2022 edition of the #abramsdinnerparty blogging group! The first book being spotlighted is Jess Damuck's fantastic Salad Freak: Recipes to Feed a Healthy Obsession. Damuck is a recipe developer and food stylist who focuses on creating salads that are both delicious and beautiful. Salad Freak features more than 100 salad recipes that include a wide range of flavors and textures. There's literally something for everyone! 
Salad Freak features healthy salads...but it's not only about eating to feel good. The cookbook also focuses on combining interesting flavors to create satisfying meals that will become a part of your regular cooking rotation. I was very excited to feature this cookbook...because I'm definitely a salad freak too! Damuck and I definitely are on the same page with our love of eating all types of salads. I'm not exaggerating when I say salads are an integral component of my healthy eating plan...they've helped me lose more than 80 pounds since last May!

I read Salad Freak cover to cover before selecting Damuck's Shrimp Louie Salad to share with you. It's a perfect meal for Lenten Fridays...and it's also ideal for Summer entertaining. The presentation is colorful and pretty -- and the easy homemade dressing is the perfect accompaniment. Bottom line: this is my kind of recipe!

Monday, March 21, 2022

Healthy Appetizers...Featuring Lower Fat Creamy Cajun Shrimp Dip #healthyappetizers #healthyentertaining #lowfatfood #healthy2022

Spring entertaining season is here...which means lots of fun  appetizers. That can often mean excess fat and calories...but it doesn't have to! My Creamy Cajun Shrimp Dip is a perfect example of health AND tasty. This chunky dip features sweet Gulf shrimp, green onions, Cajun seasoning, garlicky hot sauce, and other flavorful ingredients. To shave fat and calories...without sacrificing creamy texture...I use fat-free Greek yogurt and reduced-fat olive oil mayo. This dip takes less than 10 minutes to prep with a food processor. That can be our little secret, though! Get ready for some serious compliments when your guests try this flavorful dip...

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Lightened Up Brunch...Featuring Classic Shirred Eggs with Gruyere and #eggs #healthy2022 #eatsmarter

I absolutely love cooking with eggs! This versatile ingredient is an economical ingredient...and eggs are an excellent source of protein. Today, I'm sharing a lightened-up version of Classic Shirred Eggs with Gruyere and Ham. This classic French dish is perfect for a lazy weekend brunch -- or a quick weeknight Brinner. If you've never had shirred eggs, you're in for a special treat! This dish typically features eggs baked in a shallow dish with a bit of cream. My version uses half and half, and is flavored with thyme, prosciutto, and a reduced amount of flavorful, nutty Gruyere cheese. This recipe's a keeper of my favorite ways to enjoy eggs!

Friday, March 4, 2022

How to Cook More Healthy at Home #healthy2022 #healthycooking #healthylifestyle #nutrition

Eating healthy is typically much easier to achieve when cooking at home! That's because you control the ingredients and the cooking methods you use to prepare meals. Today, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing some tips to help you eat...and cook...healthier in your home kitchen. This article may contain affiliate links.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods! Your favorite recipes can easily be tweaked to be healthier. For example, non-stick cookware can be used to reduce the need for cooking oil. Vegetables can be microwaved or steamed to retain their nutrients. 

Image - free for commercial use

There are many ways to make your meals healthier, whether you’re on a specific diet to lose weight...or if you simply want to feel better and have more energy. You can also pair a weight loss diet plan with a wegovy injection for effective weight loss. Be sure to limit fats, sugars, and salt. But? Include lots of vegetables, fruits, grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. 

(1) Keep Fats to a Minimum

Choose lean meats and reduced-fat dairy products...and limit processed foods. Nuts, seeds, fish, soy, olives, and avocado are all healthier sources of fat -- because they have essential long-chain fatty acids. These fats are accompanied by other good nutrients. If you add fats when you’re cooking, be sure to keep them to a minimum...and stick with monounsaturated oils like olive or canola oil. 

(2) Shop for Healthy Food

Choose reduced or low-fat versions of food where you can, including milk, cheese, and salad dressings. Pick leaner cuts of meat and skinless chicken breasts. Further, limit the amount of fast foods you well as chips, processed meats, pastries, and pies. 

(3) Use Low Fat Cooking Methods

Reduce the fat in your cooking with these tips:

  • Use cooking sprays, or apply a small amount of oil with a pastry brush.

  • Cook with liquids instead of oil/fats.

  • Use low-fat yogurt or milk -- instead of cream -- in sauces and soups.

  • When you brown vegetables, place them in a hot pan and spray with oil, rather than oiling the pain first.

  • Instead of browning vegetables via pan frying, cook them first in the microwave. Then, crisp them under the grill.

  • Use pesto, salsa, chutneys, and vinegar instead of sour cream, butter, and creamy sauces. 

(4) Retain Nutrients in Foods

Water-soluble vitamins are delicate and can easily be lost during the preparation and cooking of food. To minimize nutrient loss:

  • Scrub vegetables rather than peeling them...much of the nutrients are found close to the skin.

  • Microwave or steam vegetables rather than boiling them.

  • If you do boil your vegetables, use a small amount of water...and don’t overboil them

  • Include more stir-fry recipes. Stir-fried vegetables are cooked quickly, which retains their crunch and nutrients.

(5) Reduce Your Use of Salt

Salt is a flavor enhancer, but a diet high in salt may contribute to multiple health problems, including high blood pressure. You can reduce dietary salt in a few ways:

  • Don’t automatically add salt to your food...taste it first. 

  • Add a little olive oil, vinegar, or lemon juice close to the end of cooking time or to vegetables. This will enhance flavors in the same way as salt. 

  • Cook with fresh or frozen vegetables, because canned and pickled options are often packed with salt.

  • Avoid salty processed meats like ham, bacon, and salami. 

  • Choose reduced-salt bread and breakfast cereals. Bread and cereals are actually a key source of salt in the average diet. 

  • Avoid processed foods, which are laden with salts -- flavored instant pasta or noodles, canned or dehydrated soup mixes, chips, and salted nuts. 

  • Margarine and butter also contain a lot of salt, so choose varieties that have no added salt. 

  • Many cheeses are very high in salt. Either limit how much cheese you eat, or choose cheeses that are lower in salt. 

  • Reduce your use of soy sauce, tomato sauce, and other processed sauces, salad dressings, and mayonnaise. These condiments all contain a lot of salt.

(6) Cook with Herbs

Herbs are a great way to add color and flavor to all kinds of meals. This allows you to use fewer ingredients like fat and salt to add taste. Herbs are also rich in phyto-estrogens, which are very good for your health. Herbs can be used in place of salt and oil too. When you use herbs, keep in mind:

  • Herbs have a delicate flavor, so add them to your dish in the last few minutes to retain their flavor.

  • Dried herbs have a stronger flavor than fresh. One teaspoon of dried herbs is equivalent to approximately four teaspoons of fresh.

  • As well the obvious use in meat dishes, you can add herbs to: soups, bread, mustards, salad dressing, vinegar, desserts, and drinks.

  • Herbs like coriander, ginger, garlic, chili, and lemongrass work brilliantly in stir-fry recipes with a lot of vegetables. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Outer Aisle Cauliflower Thins...Featuring Big Mac Salad Mini Pizzas! #pizzanight #cauliflowerthins #fewercarbs #healthypizza

I made some major dietary and lifestyle changes last May...and I'm currently down 78.6 pounds! These days, I eat fewer/smarter carbs, very little sugar...and I eat only lean proteins. The results have been transformative to my health and weight! However, I refuse to eat tasteless or boring food. I've discovered that healthy food can...and DOES...taste great! Thanks to Outer Aisle cauliflower thins and pizza crusts, I'm able to enjoy my favorite foods like pizza, sandwiches, tostadas...and more...while staying committed to my health goals. Outer Aisle's versatile cauliflower sandwich thins and pizza crusts toast up nicely, and they taste amazing. Today, I'm sharing a video for my latest creation: Big Mac Salad Mini Pizzas! It has all the flavors of the iconic fast food a healthier way. With food like this pizza? I can enjoy my favorite flavors in a way that fuels my body...and satisfies my taste buds!

Disclosure: Outer Aisle provided me with product samples to facilitate recipe development for this feature. All opinions shared are solely my own.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Healthy Family Pizza Night...Featuring Outer Aisle Chicken-Turkey Bacon-Ranch Cauliflower Crust Flatbread #lesscarbs #healthypizza #outeraislegourmet #healthyanddelicious

One of the key changes that's contributed to my 80-pound weight loss...and counting (!!)...has been finding healthier ways to enjoy my favorite foods. For me? That means eating fewer carbs and less fat...and including plenty of protein. One of my favorite ingredients in my new healthy lifestyle is Outer Aisle Gourmet's versatile cauliflower sandwich thins and pizza crusts. I use their products to enjoy everything from quesadillas...and definitely pizza...while supporting my healthy eating goals! Today's focus is on healthy pizza. I used Outer Aisle's single-serve pizza crusts to create my Chicken-Turkey Bacon-Ranch Cauliflower Crust Flatbread. It's creamy, savory...and so satisfying. As this video shows? This flatbread is proof that eating healthy is definitely a delicious proposition!
Outer Aisle products can be purchased at grocery retailers across the U.S. -- be sure to check out their handy online Find a Store feature. Not available near you yet? No worries! Outer Aisle also ships their cauliflower thins -- and new broccoli thins -- nationwide!  

Disclosure: Outer Aisle provided me with a sampler of their cauliflower thins and pizza crust to facilitate recipe development for this feature. All opinions shared are solely my own.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Game Day Food...Featuring Hatch Chile-Cannellini Bean Turkey Chili #gamedayfood #footballfood #chili #healthieroptions

Watching the Super Bowl this Sunday means lots of fun commercials...and plenty of tasty game day food! With my healthier lifestyle, I plan to serve tasty food that's healthy AND delicious. My Hatch Chile-Cannellini Bean Turkey Chili definitely meets both requirements! 
Chili is a perfect food to feed a group of hungry football fans. If you've never tasted them, Cannellini beans are a white bean that's fat free...but high in protein, fiber, and iron. They have a firm, creamy texture...and a mellow, nutty flavor. Because they hold their shape better than other white bean varieties, Cannellini beans are ideal for adding to soups and chili. 
Texans don't typically put beans in our chili...and I totally agree with that rule! However, I don't consider this chili to be traditional Texas-style -- so I'm making an exception to my usual "no bean in chili" rule. This chili has a secret ingredient: a bit of yellow cornmeal added at the end of the cook time to slightly thicken the chili. This chili takes about 30 minutes to prep, then it simmers away on the stove. If you start this chili an hour or so before kickoff, it will smell divine...and be ready to halftime! 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Healthy Appetizers...Featuring Mediterranean Shrimp Bruschetta #gulfshrimp #lightappetizers #mediterraneanflavor

I grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, so I've loved seafood my entire life. Whether it's fish, shellfish, or crab...I love it all! With the NFL playoffs kicking off, I've created a refreshing seafood appetizer that's a great alternative to traditional game day food. My Mediterranean Shrimp Bruschetta features a chilled shrimp salad that contains my favorite flavors from a Greek salad with bite-sizes pieces of boiled shrimp. Just before serving, the chilled shrimp mixture is spooned on top of toasted garlic bread. If you're like me and are reducing your carb intake? The shrimp salad can be eaten solo...or it can be served on top of toasted cauliflower sandwich thins. This recipe is quick enough to serve anytime you're in the mood for something a little bit special.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Healthier Potluck Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad #healthy2022 #lighterclassics #smallchangesbigrewards #salad

The holidays are over...and most of us are eating healthier in the new year. But? It's nearly time the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl parties are on the horizon. That means game day food...which is traditionally heavy on fat, carbs, and calories. Today's recipe is a lightened version of a Southern potluck classic: Healthier Potluck Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad. There are many variations of this popular salad, but all feature broccoli and a tangy-sweet dressing. Most versions include bacon, onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds...and a few even include small pieces of cheddar cheese. I used favorite components to create my ultimate version of this recipe, then I lightened it up. I used broccoli and cauliflower for a color and flavor contrast. I also added dried cranberries and cashews. Because bacon, cheese, and cashews are higher in fat, I either chose healthier versions OR reduced the amount of the ingredient used in my salad. The end result has essential broccoli salad flavor...while also saving fat and calories. To further shave fat and calories, I used fat-free Greek yogurt in place of mayo in the creamy dressing...and I sweetened it with my favorite no-calorie sweetener. The end result is a delicious salad that you can feel good about enjoying!

Friday, December 31, 2021

The Weekend Gourmet's Most Popular Recipe of 2021: Deconstructed Chicken Quesadilla Salad #proteinpowered #entreesalad #healthy2022 #waldenfarmsdressing #healthymexicanfood #mostpopular2021recipe

Can you believe 2021 is quickly winding down?!?I want to take a moment to wish you all a Happy New Year...and a fabulous 2022! I also want to take a quick look back at 2021 to reveal the recipe that was most popular with my readers. My most viewed recipe of 2021 -- hands down -- was my Deconstructed Chicken Quesadilla Salad! It features Walden Farms' great tasting  Chipotle Ranch dressing. As part of my new healthy eating plan, I use Walden Farms dressings in nearly all of my salads. That's because they have a wide variety of flavors that have zero calories, zero net carbs, zero sugar, and zero fat! My Deconstructed Chicken Quesadilla Salad has all the Tex Mex flavors I crave...without excess fat and carbs. Instead of tortillas, the quesadilla component of this salad is made with carb-friendly cauliflower thins. It also features fresh vegetables, spicy seared chicken, and a bit of guacamole and cheese. Every bite of this filling main dish salad is an explosion of flavor...with zero guilt! 

Friday, December 24, 2021

ABRAMS Books Spotlight: Southern Living 2021 Annual Recipes...Featuring Coconut-Pecan Truffles #southernlivingannualrecipes2021 #chocolate #nobaketreats #fudgetruffles

I'm winding down Christmas week with an ABRAMS Dinner Party blogging group feature...showcasing one of my most anticipated books this season! Southern Living recipes are a standard bearer here in the South...a beloved food resource shared from generation to generation. That's because their recipes always seem to taste like the South...and we can always count on the recipes giving us good results and fabulous flavor! Every December, the Southern Living annual recipes cookbook comes out...featuring every recipe from the past year in one convenient location. I have every edition going back to 1997, so I was thrilled to see Southern Living 2021 Annual Recipes on my Dinner Party lineup! There are so many recipes I can't wait to try in the coming months...but this time, I needed a quick and delicious Christmas treat. I quickly honed in on the no-bake Coconut-Pecan Truffles. With just a handful of simple ingredients, these sweet treats are easy to make up to a day ahead...because the chocolate truffle mixture needs to chill before being rolled in crushed pecans. Simple and decadent, they're ideal all year round...but especially for the holiday season!