Easy & Healthy Dinner Choices

Easy…Healthy….What more could you ask for?  Use what you’ve got in your kitchen to your advantage.  The last thing most of us want to do after working all day is come home and start cooking a meal.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the meal was waiting on us as we walked through the door?  It can be!  Throw a few chicken breasts in the crock pot with a low sodium marinade before you leave for work in the morning.  You’ll be coming home to a delicious smelling house and a ready-to-eat main course.  Heat up some veggies or cut up some fruit and dinner is served.  Simple storage for leftovers and easy clean up are two more reasons to give this method a shot.  Find more healthy slow cooker recipes here and stop making things harder than they need to be!

Beef and Beer Chili

A cup and a half of this beef and beer chili is 261 calories and a good source of fiber.
            1 1/2 cups chopped red onion (about 1 medium)
            1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 small)
            8 ounces extralean ground beef
            2 garlic cloves, minced
            1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
            2 teaspoons ground cumin
            1 teaspoon sugar
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
            1 (19-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
            1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
            1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth
            1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (such as Budweiser)
            1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
            1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder, cumin, sugar, and salt; cook 1 minute. Add oregano and next 4 ingredients (through beer) to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cornmeal; cook 5 minutes. Stir in juice.

Courtesy of Myrecipes.com

White Bean and Turkey Chili


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup diced seeded plum tomato (about 1)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • lime wedges (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden. Add chili powder, garlic, and cumin; sauté for 2 minutes. Add oregano and beans; cook for 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
  • Place 2 cups of bean mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Add turkey, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Add diced tomato, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Stuffed Chicken Divan From Food Network


We’ve updated this classic dish while still keeping all the elements that people love: crisp broccoli, juicy chicken, and a tasty Parmesan sauce. By stuffing the chicken breasts we were able to cut down on the overall cheese in the dish while still maximizing flavor. A mixture of low-fat evaporated milk, broth and sherry with a touch of cornstarch makes a creamy sauce that tastes as rich as the full fat version.


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups (4 ounces) fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the broiler. Mist a shallow rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and run under cold water until cold. Drain well again and squeeze dry in paper towels.
Chop the broccoli and toss in a bowl with the Gruyere and garlic. Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of each chicken breast to make a 3-inch deep pocket. Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the broccoli mixture. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking through. Transfer to the baking dish.
Meanwhile, combine the milk and stock in a small pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the sherry and cornstarch until smooth and pour, whisking constantly, into the sauce. Cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of sauce and place under the broiler. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut each breast in half on an angle. Whisk the mustard into the remaining sauce and spread a few tablespoons on each plate. Top with a halved chicken breast.
Nutritional analysis per serving
Calories 347; Total Fat 11g (Sat Fat 5.1g, Mono Fat 3.9g, Poly Fat 1.1g) ; Protein 50g; Carb 10g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 126.5mg; Sodium 433.5mg

Cajun Spiced Pork Chops

In 15 minutes you can have a delicious meal for four with each serving totaling just 84 calories!  Check out www.allrecipes.com for more healthy ideas!!


  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed dried sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 center cut pork chops


  1. Mix paprika, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, sage, and garlic salt on a plate. Liberally coat each pork chop with the spice mixture.
  2. Heat olive oil and several pumps of non-stick, butter-flavored spray in a large skillet over high heat. Place pork chops in the skillet, reducing heat to medium. Cook until the pork is no longer pink in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Beer Lime Grilled Chicken

Try this recipe for four courtesy of allrecipes.com.  It takes less than an hour to prepare and has just 182 calories per serving! 

1 lime, juiced
1 (12 fluid ounce) can light colored beer
1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1. In a bowl, mix the lime juice, beer, honey, garlic, cilantro, and salt and pepper until the honey dissolves. Pour the mixture over the chicken, cover and marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.
3. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess; discard remaining marinade. Grill chicken until tender and juices run clear, about 7 minutes per side.

Eat Fresh…and No I’m Not Talking About Subway.


Now that spring is upon us, fresh vegetables are getting easier to get your hands on and include regularly in your diet.  Consider checking out the Community Supported Agriculture website and buying a share of vegetables from a local farm near you.  This program makes keeping vegetables in your diet easy!  Fresh vegetables from local farms are available to you weekly throughout the entire summer and into the fall.
For creative ways to add more vegetables into your diet, check out the healthy recipes at www.allrecipes.com.  Consider starting your day with a veggie omelet, or throwing some mixed veggies on the grill with supper.  Make a commitment to eating more fresh produce as the harvesting season begins!!

Fish Chowder for Under 300 Calories


  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets or other firm white fish, skinned
  • 3 slices bacon, uncooked
  • 3 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot (about 1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces


Bring 4 1/2 cups water and bay leaves to a simmer in a large skillet. Add fish; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove fish from pan with a slotted spoon. Cut fish into large pieces. Reserve 2 1/2 cups cooking liquid and bay leaves.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add potato, onion, and carrot to pan; cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Add milk and butter; simmer 25 minutes until potatoes are tender (do not boil). Stir in fish, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with bacon.
Nutritional Info:
One cup of this chowder contains 242 calories, 8.6g of fat, 21.8g of protein, 18.4g of carbohydrates, 1.5g of fiber, 42mg of cholesterol, 1.1mg of iron, 531mg of sodium, and 166mg of calcium.  The recipe makes ten servings.
Visit Health.com for nine more creative fish recipes that are healthy and low in calories!

Shrimp Salad Stuffed Tomatoes Courtesy of Melissa (so you know it’s good!)

Makes 4 appetizer or salad courses or 2 entrée servings.
  • 4 medium/small round, ripe tomatoes
  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce OR 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce such as Texas Pete or Tabasco
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise (low fat or no fat)
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning plus ½ teaspoon extra reserved
  • ¼ teaspoon dried Dill (for garnish)

Cut the top off of the tomatoes and move the meat and seeds. Discard. Turn the tomato upside down and slice a very thin slice from the bottom of all the tomatoes to assist them in standing upright on the plate. Turn the tomatoes upside down and place on a paper towel on a plate to rest and drain excess juice.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the dill and additional ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning. Mix well. 
Season the inside of the four tomatoes with the remaining ½ teaspoon of season salt. Add black pepper if you would like. 
Divide shrimp salad mixture into four and stuff each of the four tomatoes with the shrimp salad. Sprinkle dried dill on top of each.
Refrigerate lightly covered for about 15 minutes then serve and enjoy!

Turkey Enchilada Casserole That Will Blow Your Mind!

You can prepare the Enchilada Sauce and the Refried Beans two days ahead and then assemble the casserole the day you serve it.

Yield:  9 servings

1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground raw turkey breast
Refried Beans
Enchilada Sauce, divided
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Oregano sprigs (optional)

Heat chicken broth in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add turkey, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the Refried Beans and 1/2 cup of Enchilada Sauce; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spread 1/4 cup Enchilada Sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Dredge both sides of 6 tortillas in sauce; then arrange tortillas, overlapping, in baking dish. Top with half of bean mixture and 1/4 cup Enchilada Sauce, and sprinkle with half of cheese. Brush both sides of remaining tortillas with Enchilada Sauce, and arrange tortillas, overlapping, over cheese. Top with remaining bean mixture, 1/4 cup Enchilada Sauce, and remaining cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with oregano, if desired.

CALORIES 482 (18% from fat); FAT 9.4g (sat 3.9g,mono 2.4g,poly 1.7g); IRON 6.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 402mg; CARBOHYDRATE 64.3g; SODIUM 1014mg; PROTEIN 39.1g; FIBER 11.9g