Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day #124 - Spicy Sausage & Peppers Penne

Tonight's meal was another quick and easy one. The recipe calls for hot Italian turkey sausage, but I couldn't find any at the grocery store when we went grocery shopping last weekend - so I opted for spicy Italian chicken sausage. The nutritional information is more favorable for the chicken sausage anyway - and I doubt it would have tasted any different. It was a really filling meal and the bell peppers add so much flavor!


8 oz Uncooked Penne Pasta
1 lb Hot Italian Turkey (or Chicken) Sausage (about 4 links)
3 Medium Bell Peppers Cut Into 1/4" Strips
1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, Pressed
1 Can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
1 can (8 oz) Tomato Sauce
2 tsp Italian Seasoning **See Note below
1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

** Note: I keep a mixture of this Garlic Bread Seasoning on hand for occasions like this. It's the most fabulous mixture of ingredients and can be used on garlic bread, bread sticks, in pizza sauce, in other pasta sauces, etc.


Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until sausage is lightly browned and no longer pink. Remove sausages from the skillet; cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

In the same skillet, cook the bell peppers, onion and garlic over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until peppers are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasoning mix. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.

Place pasta in a large bowl; pour sauce mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Approximately For 2 Cups):

Total Calories: 330 cal

Total Fat: 3.5 g

Total Carbs: 40 g (2 carb exchanges)

Total Protein: 21 g

When paired with 1 piece of Francisco French Bread, 1 tbsp of Smart Balance Light Butter Spread, Sprinkling of the Garlic Bread Seasoning mentioned above, 2 cups of salad and a low calorie dressing, the total nutritional information is approximately: 450 calories, 4 g of fat, 57 g of carbs, and 23 g of protein.

Day #123 - Honey Mustard Pork Medallions & Orzo Pilaf

This is one of those meals you could easily work into your monthly menu planning. It's so easy and tastes so good! It would be fabulous paired with any kind of grain as a side - I pulled the recipe for the Orzo Pilaf from the back of the Orzo box. It can't get any easier than that!

I just have to add that I just finished eating leftovers for lunch - and it makes a fabulous lunch! Now I'm off for a walk around Bellevue! Enjoy!

Honey Mustard Pork Medallions:


1 Lb Pork Tenderloin
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
1/8 tsp Red Pepper
1/4 cup Water
2 tsp Packed Brown Sugar


Slice pork loin into 1/4" slices. Mix all ingredients except water and brown sugar in a shallow bowl. Add pork; turn to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix water and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade and discard remaining marindate. Cook the pork in the skillet for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink. Remove pork from the skillet and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce heat to low. Stir water & sugar mixture into drippings in the skillet. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Drizzle sauce over pork and serve.

Quick Orzo Pilaf


8 oz Dry Orzo
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Diced (1/2 Cup)
1/2 Cup Diced Red or Green Bell pepper
2-1/2 Cups Water
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
1 Cup Frozen Peas & Carrots


In a saucepan, saute onion and bell pepper, about 3 minutes over medium heat, or until vegetables soften.

Add orzo, water and bouillon; stirring frequently, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in peas and carrots; cover and cook an additional two minutes, or until orzo is tender and peas and carrots are heated through.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 4 oz Pork Loin):

Total Calories: 190 cal

Total Fat: 5.0 g

Total Carbs: 11 g

Total Protein: 26 g

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 1/3 Cup Orzo):

Total Calories: 210 cal

Total Fat: 1.0 g

Total Carbs: 41 g

Total Protein: 7.0 g

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day #122 - Szechuan Chicken

We decided to try something new and different with our dinner menu for the next two weeks. Everything you see posted for the next 14 days will be low in carbohydrates (2 carb choices or less). While Jim is the only diabetic in our house - I'm convinced we could all use a little diet makeover and this is a good starting point for us. And the meals we have planned look really fabulous! I can't wait to try them all.

This first one turned out pretty good - the flavors were good. My only complaint is that the chicken was too dry and I'm pretty sure it has to do with how they have you cook the chicken. Next time - I will have Jim cook the chicken on the grill to keep it nice and juicy.


1 tsp Minced Garlic
1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
1/2 tsp Salt-Free Lemon-Pepper Seasoning
1/2 tsp Crushed Fennel Seeds
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves (just a pinch)
1 Pound Chicken Tenders Cut Into 1/2" Slices
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
12 oz Bok Choy Cut Into 1/2" Slices
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)


In a mixing bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, lemon-pepper seasoning, fennel seeds, and cloves. Add the chicken. With your hands or a spoon, toss well to coat all the chicken pieces with the seasoning.

Set a wok or a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Place the chicken pieces into the pan so they are separated. Cook for 1 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook for an additional 1 minute until browned. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the bok choy and cook for about 2 minutes, tossing until the bok choy leaves are wilting. Add the broth and soy sauce.

Bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Serve and garnish with red pepper flakes if desired.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 4 oz of chicken):

Total Calories: 156 Calories

Total Fat: 4 gm

Total Carbs: 3 gm

Total Protein: 28 gm

When paired with 1/2 a cup of brown rice and a side salad with light dressing - you have a fabulous meal for under 350 calories!!!

Day #121 - Steak & Pasta Salad

This one is pretty self explanatory. Jim grilled the steaks while I made the pasta salad (which consists of mini bow-tie pasta, diced tomatoes and orange bell peppers and mixed with your favorite low-fat Italian salad dressing).

Day #120 - Bean Dip & Strawberries

Jim and I went on a 23 mile bike ride today which means we also ate a late lunch when we got back. So - we kind of skipped dinner and snacked on some seven layer bean dip and strawberries with chocolate whipped cream while attending game night with some of our closest friends.


2 Cups (16 oz) Non-Fat Refried Beans
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
1 8 oz Package Nonfat Cream Cheese
1 Cup Nonfat Sour Cream
1 Jar Medium Salsa
1 Medium tomato
2 Cups Low Fat / Light Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Lettuce
1 Can (2 oz) of Sliced Black Olives
1/3 Cup Frozen Sweet Corn
1/3 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onions
1/4 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
7 Green Onion Stems
Tortilla Chips or Celery for Dipping


In a bowl, stir the taco seasoning into the refried beans and spread along the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. in another bow, whip the cream cheese and sour cream together until cream and spread on top of the beans.

Spread salsa on top and sprinkle tomato, red onions and bell pepper (if using). Top with cheddar cheese, lettuce and finally with black olives, corn, cilantro and green onions. Refrigerate for one hour prior to serving.

Day #119 - Mediterranean Kitchen

If you are ever in the Kirkland area looking for a great place to eat - I highly recommend stopping by this small but fabulous place called the Mediterranean Kitchen. I've been told they also have a location in Seattle - but I have never been to that one. This is one of my most favorite places to eat. I am grateful for the fact that we moved 45 minutes away because otherwise - you would be seeing this awesome meal on my dinner blog all too often.

Pictured below if the Gyro Salad - it consists of romaine lettuce, pickled beats, radishes, cucumber, tomato, olives, the best Greek spices and FABULOUS tzatziki dressing - all topped with the most tender lamb meat you have ever eaten!

This last time we also splurged and got a side of their Greek Fries. If you are a French Fry fan - I highly recommend stopping by just for the fries. They add their special little Greek seasoning and top them with their tzatziki sauce, ketchup and some feta cheese. They are to die for!

But okay - I don't know the nutritional information - strictly by choice. I don't want to ruin a good thing by knowing how bad it really is for me. But just trust me - you should try it!!!

Day #118 - A Dose of Alzheimers

This is the one day I didn't note what we had for dinner. It will come to me eventually - and when it does - I will update this post to show it.