This is the Horde. Below are our Recipes. Thanks for sharing our Kitchen

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ravioli Caprese Lightened up. (Chicken and Basil Ravioli)

One of our favorite recipes is Ravioli Caprese from Giada's Everyday Italian.  It's a wonderfully light tasting recipe.  It is however not that light calorie and fat wise so I wanted to try "lightening it up" tonight.

What resulted was a delightful surprise.  Minimal difference in flavour and even lighter tasting.

We used Wonton wrappers for this recipe instead of making the dough from scratch this time and I used light ricotta cheese and a broiled chicken breast as opposed to rotisserie from the store as in the original recipe.

While not big changes it was enough to lighten up the fat content and reduce the calories a bit.

The original recipe is posted HERE.    My changes are as follows.  As always my portions are to feed a family of six (plus a neighbour child tonight who begged to stay after seeing them made)

You can always take these portions and freeze extras on a cookie sheet then place them in a ziploc bag in the freezer to make a quick and easy dinner.  Halving the recipe works too.  I use the original measurements for the sauce without doubling.


1 tub Light Ricotta Cheese
2 eggs
approx 1 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken breast (use a processor to shred it).  This equates to about 1 cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup grated parmesan
4 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
grated ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Wrappers:  One 220gram package of wonton wrappers.  (approx 75 wrappers)

For the Filling:   Combine all the ingredients in a medium bown and stir to combine.  I use my kitchenaid mixer to combine them all well.

Place the wrappers working with about 12 at a time on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Have a small bowl of water and pastry brush nearby.

Place approx 1 tsp (a smidgeon more.  I use a small cookie scooper) into the center of each of the wonton wrappers.
Use the pastry brush to lightly brush water along two edges of the wrapper and fold to create a triangle.  press closed and set aside on a seperate cookie sheet until ready to use.

To make the sauce, simply place the ingredients into a skillet and heat the sauce on low.

Once all the wrappers are filled  have a pot of low boil water ready.  Place about half the wontons in the water and let low boil until floating and ready (about 3-4 minutes).   Drain the wontons and place in the skillet with the sauce, lightly coating before removing to serving dish.  Repeat with the balance of the wontons.

The result is delightful and significantly less work than making the dough by hand as well.  This took me about an hour from start to finish.   Making the dough rolling it out etc, generally takes me about 2-3 hours to make this recipe.

Light Cinnamon Crepes with Fruit and Cheese. Scrumptious

We had the pleasure of having my parents here for Easter weekend this year.  This is the first time in 15 years that we've been able to spend Easter together so I was thrilled as were the kids.   Since we don't have them here very often I wanted to make a delicious brunch for them.  Of course we are still trying to stay "light" and I worked through some recipes lightening them up.  In addition to the crepes we also made a Chicken Spinach Frittata.  Recipe here

These were absolutely delicious!!!  I got to test my new crepe pan and play in the kitchen.  The filling light and scrumptious.  Fresh fruit finishes it up beautifully...  Ricotta cheese is spectacular with fresh fruit on it's own.  Add in a little crepe and it pushes it over to top in goodness.

Crepes. (makes approx 15)

These can be made a day ahead of time.  Everytime I've made crepes the first one always goes caplooey so I just toss the first one (actually one of the kids gladly accept it to taste test. )  You can cut the recipe by 3rds to reduce quantity of crepes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 pinches of salt
2 1/4 cup buttermilk
6 tsp vegetable oil
3 large eggs (or 3/4 cups liquid egg replacement)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 Tub Light ricotta cheese
2 oz light cream cheese (about 1/2 bar)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 cups of fresh fruit   (strawberries, banana, blueberries, raspberries, etc)

To make the crepes.
Combine the dry ingredients and mix well, set aside
In a seperate bowl combine the milk, egg, and oil.   With an electric mixer add the dry ingredients to the wet mixing gradually until smooth and combined.   Cover and refridgerate for 30 minutes

Lightly coat a non stick skillet or crepe pan with cooking spray and set over medium heat.  Using approx 1/4 cup of the batter, pour into the pan and tilt in all directions so the batter covers the pan.   Cook for approx 1 minute and lift the edges with a spatula to test.  Flip when the bottom is lightly browned.  I always use my silicone icing knife and a spatula to flip.  I am not a flipping master.  Set the crepes aside.   I use parchment paper to seperate the crepes.  I have tried plastic wrap (they get stuck together and hard to seperate the plastic),  wax paper (just doesn't work, paper gets soggy) and have ended with parchment paper being the best solution.   

For the filling, combine the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a bowl, mixing with electric mixer until well combined.  Add the maple syrup and combine well.
Fold in half of the mixed berries gently.

To assemble, spread approx 1/4 cup (maybe a little more) of the filling onto each crepe and roll up.  Lightly coat a large non stick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat.  Brown the crepe on all sides for about two minutes.  Serve with the balance of berries.

Spinach Chicken Frittata

Frittatas are one of those easy breakfast items that let you use up all kinds of leftovers in the fridge.  I love frittatas.  They are nutritious and delicious.   You can generally use whatever you want in them after the basic eggs/cream combo to create your own unique versions.

I always have cooked chicken breasts in the fridge.  I love having them available for a quick lunch, to toss in salads, or make a quick meal.   This time instead of using heavy cream in the recipe to lighten it up I used 2% evaporated milk and it worked perfectly.  (next time I might even try evaporated skim milk)

Just as a note.  I don't measure any of this while I'm making other than the eggs and evaporated milk everything else is pretty much whatever I have on hand.


1 cooked chicken breast cut in small cubes
12 eggs
1/2 cup 2% evaporated milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 cup chopped brocolli (small)
1/2 red pepper chopped.
1 cup shredded cheese (your choice, sometimes I use goat cheese, feta, mozza, cheddar)

Beat the eggs and milk until well "scrambled".  Add in all the other ingredients and mix well.

Pour into a  greased 10-12 inch round oven proof dish (can be a skillet)  I use an oven proof flan dish.  I generally spray the pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle some of the shredded cheese over the top of the mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F, for approx 45 minutes.   Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before serving.   This feeds my entire family with leftovers.  Yesterday I made it for 8 and we still had leftovers.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easy Creamy Lemon Meringue Pie

Who says low fat has to taste badly?    Today was a major cooking feast in the kitchen using up produce and meat in the fridge.  We have cream of broccoli soup, cream of cauliflower and carrot soup, (both made with low fat condensed milk, vs cream) beef stew, low fat mac and cheese and we needed to add a little sweet to our lives today.

I found a lower fat creamy version of Lemon Meringue Pie on Rose Reiman's  website this afternoon.  

My daughter's little friend showed up and asked if she could help in the kitchen so we went at it.  This recipe is very easy.  My young ladies learned how to seperate egg yolks and whites, how to whip egg whites into yummy meringue (which they say is like goopy marshmallow "stuff"), zest a lemon and hand squeeze the juices. 

This recipe took very little time to make and while we haven't tastes the finished product quite yet, there were lots of little fingers testing the filling/meringue and base along the way.  Numberous thumbs up were achieved.

From the filling it is almost more like my Creamy Key Lime Pie  but I suspect lower in fats.  I was tempted to make it without the meringue as I'm not a huge meringue fan but given the first kick at the can so to speak, we made as directed.

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (I used graham wafer crumbs)
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 can + 2/3 cup low fat sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
3 egg yolks (saving the whites)

3 egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly coat a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray (I didn't do this)
To make the crust simply combine the crumbs with the water and oil in a small bowl.  Pat into the pie pan along the sides and bottom

For the filling, comine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and egg yolks until smooth and combined.  Let it sit for 10 minutes until it thickens a bit.   Pour into the pie pan and bake for 20 minutes or just until the mixture is set.

While the pie is baking make the meringue.   Combine the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a mixing bowl.   Beat on highest setting until stiff peaks form (about 7 minutes).   Spread over the lemon filling immediately upon removing the pie from the oven.

Increase the oven temp to 375 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes until just lightly browned.  Chill until cold and cut into 14 small slices.  

Yes...SMALL slices.  I'm learning it's not necessarily what I'm eating but the portion size of said foods.  We are definitely "lightening" up our dishes with some easy alternative ingredients  but really it's monitoring portion controls.

I don't really need large portions of food so on that front I'm lucky.   I just needed a little bit of tweeking.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mediterranean Burgers with Feta Cheese

Day 3 of healthy eating with another winning recipe from Rose Reisman's website.

Tonight I actually made a variety of dishes including a "light" baked macaroni and cheese, and cream of broccoli soup.

I'm going to concentrate on the burgers though as they were exquisite!!!  The kids could not get enough of them.  I used approx 2 lbs of ground beef and doubled the recipe for my family.  I made the patties smaller to yield approx 18 patties

Absolutely no need to have a bun although my oldest told me a small fresh bakery dinner roll made was tasty with it as well.

Again under 300 calories and I can't even begin to describe how good these patties were.


1 lb extra-lean ground beef
1 egg
1 tsp dried basil  (I used fresh Basil (about 1 tbsp) and (1/2 tsp) oregano)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp seasoned dry breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 1 oz)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 1 oz)
1/4 cup light cream cheese (about 2 oz), softened
3 Tbsp low-fat plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp water (I omitted the water)
1/2 tsp dried basil  (I used fresh basil)

To make the burgers, combine the ground beef, egg, dried basil and oregano, breadcrumbs, ketchup, garlic, onion and feta in a large bowl and shape into 4 burger patties. Grill or sauté in a pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Cook on 1 side for 7 minutes, then turn over and cook 3 to 5 more minutes or just until beef is done.  I grilled mine on the bbq.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth.  I simply used a hand blender

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Orange Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Cranberry stuffing

As we venture into the lighter fare these days in my home here is another fantastic dish.

My 9 year old LOVED it!!   I  found this on The Art of Living well website.  I have been working through some of her recipes as I try to shed some of the weight gained since quitting smoking.  If you get a chance you really should  check out her website.  It is quite amazing.  Full of healthy, delicious recipes, smart alternatives to restaurant foods while eating out, and a positive outlook for healthy living. 

I recognize I need to diet, but I hate that word and I love food.  By that I mean flavourful food, not necessarily food in large quantities.  From my experiments with some of Rose's recipes thus far, healthy doesn't have to mean bland.

This recipe was delicious.  Under 300 calories per serving. (This recipe serves 6). 

Simple to make and quick.   It took me about 10 minutes to prep it and approx 1/2 hour to make.  It was served with sushi rice (1/2 cup)  and steamed asperagus.  

My one note about this recipe.  The glaze is amazing but strong!  A teeny tiny bit will do quite nicely.  The little of bit of orange with the cranberry is fantastic but too much can be overpowering.

1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin, butterflied

2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp walnut (or olive) oil
1 oz diced brie

2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
2 Tbsp red currant or black currant jelly
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic

3 Tbsp chopped parsley

1.Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil lightly coated with cooking spray.

2.To make the stuffing, combine the cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and walnut oil in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse on and off until the mixture is crumbly. Add the diced brie and pulse once or twice, just to combine.   I didn't use my processor for this step.  I chopped the cranberries and used some coursely ground walnuts, chopped the brie and mixed it all well.

3.Open the pork loin like a book and stuff with the fruit and nut stuffing. (If you would like to make this easier to roll, first pound the pork to a 1/4-inch thickness before stuffing.)I just cut mine. Secure with either kitchen string or toothpicks. Set a large, nonstick grill pan or skillet lightly coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat and sear until browned on all sides, about 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked to medium (until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145°F). Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.  I am not sure why so many recipes call for non stick pans but I don't own any anymore so I simply use a light coat of Pam in my steel skillets.

4.Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by combining the orange juice concentrate, jelly, vinegar, olive oil, orange zest and garlic in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat for 1 minute and drizzle over the sliced pork. Garnish with parsley.

For nutritional information and more information visit  you can also follow Rose on Facebook at

Friday, April 15, 2011

Harry Potter Movie Night Magical Dinner Theme

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was released today on DVD.   New  Harry releases are always exciting days here in our household.

What happens when you have a mom who loves the books and movies as much as her kids?   A day of fun, frivolity and magical adventures in the kitchen.

We start the festivities with Luna Lovegood's Pie (aka Shepard's Pie).  (Recipes at the end of the post)

Here we have a young wizard casting a spell on mom's stove because our house elf has disappeared

Of course  no magical meal is complete without desserts.  Our young witch is casting an enchantment charm on these today

A beverage is a must indeed.   Butterbeers all around.

A fine evening ahead for the lot of us.

Shepard's Pie Recipe

3-4 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 large onion (chopped finely)
2 carrots sliced
1/2 bag of frozen corn
1 box sodium reduced beef broth
1 can tomato paste
pepper to taste
a few dashes of worchestire sauce

approx 8 new potatoes, boiled, mashed. (I always add 1/2 block of cream cheese to my mashed potatoes)

Brown the meat and onions in a large skillet or dutch oven.  Add the box of beef broth, worchesterire and about 3/4 can of tomato paste, as well as the carrots.   Let simmer for about an hour.

Cover with the mashed potatoes and bake for approx 45 minutes to one hour in the oven at 350 F.

Cupcakes.  Use your favorite cupcake recipe and any of the buttercream icing recipes listed here in the blog.   I made the scarves, hats and brooms out of premade fondant today.  (normally I make it on my own but got to it a little late today)

Butter beer.   Lots of labels available online for downloads.   To make the butter beer.

Clear Cream soda and butterscotch flavor to taste.  It's really that simple.   Grown up versions of butterbeer.   Clear cream soda and butterscotch schnapps.

For some fun with the kids and an extra special movie night ahead.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Marnie's Cheesy Meat Lasagna

Since many have asked for this recipe after seeing me post the pic on Facebook, so here you go.

I was so excited yesterday I haven't really left the kitchen since the morning.  I'm not one for fancy cookware as my old beat up cheapie stuff has served me well over the years.  It was time however to start replacing some of my 20 year old cheaper stuff finally.  I treated myself to Le Crueset.  Three french/dutch ovens.  One round one 3.3L, and two ovals 5qt, and 7qt size.  I also picked up a lasagna pan, and a cute kiwi coloured kettle.   My old saucepans also needed replacing and I picked up a beautiful set of stainless saute pans, stockpot, and saucepans.

I just HAD to get in the kitchen.   It started by making my spaghetti meatsauce.  Here

I made a pork roast for dinner and then some lasagna last night to have for dinner tonight.   Today I started making Coq au Vin which I'll blog about tomorrow.  My first time making that one.

Without further adieu my lasagna recipe.  It's really quite simple.  Sometimes I use homemade pasta, other times simple box noodles.   Last night I combined both spinach and regular lasagna noodles to use up 1/2 boxes in the cupboard.

Here is what I do.  For a large size as illustrated, I'll use approx 1 1/2 boxes of noodles.  Boil as directed with a little olive oil in the water. and rinse with cold  tap water.  Leave in strainer.

Place a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan topped with a layer of noodles.
Spoon some fresh ricotta cheese and spread as evenly as possible over the noodles.   Generously spoon more meat sauce over the ricotta cheese.  It will all mix up together and that's okay.

Sometimes I'll even take a full tub of ricotta, pour into a large mixing bowl and pre mix with a generous amount of meat sauce. 

Layer your multiple cheeses over the sauce mixture.  I shred mozzarella, emmental,  parmesan, provolone.  I don't sweat if I'm missing one.  I often have asiago in the fridge and will mix a little of that in too.

Place another layer of noodles on top of the shredded cheese and start again.

Shredded Cheese

I usually get about 4 layers of noodles for a pan, sometimes one more.

Back at preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes uncovered.
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe freezes beautifully.  Often I will take the leftovers (or make two) and cut them into those small tin foil containers with lids and freeze. 
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