Old Fashioned Banana Bread

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

March 20, 2013

In Loving Memory to Mrs. Lula Streive & Vera-Jean Lipp

The People’s Church Cookbook “Our Heavenly Treasures”

There is nothing like a church cookbook! Really! A compilation of the best family recipes from the best cooks in an entire church body to be passed down generation after generation, Genius!  I collect cookbooks and especially love to come across old church cookbooks. I guess it must have become a trend to produce a cookbook in the 70’s to fundraise for different projects. Well my absolute favorite…..the one I go to for almost everything….is from the church I grew up in, The People’s Church in Sandusky, Ohio and the cookbook was appropriately titled “Our Heavenly Treasures”.  I’m doing some digging but I believe this cookbook was published in 1977 (the year I was born!) and it is truly filled with many treasures.

The banana bread recipe I am sharing with you today was inspired by a recipe submitted to this cookbook by Mrs. Lula Streive through Vera-Jean Lipp. Mrs. Lipp noted of Mrs. Streive; “She is our oldest church member at this time” and was “93 or 94 years old”. Now you know a recipe is good when it stands the test of time like this one! I’m titling this “Old Fashioned Banana Bread” because this recipe has been around so long. Also because of the simplicity of its ingredients, unlike other banana bread recipes I’ve seen, the bananas really are the focus and steal the show!

I have NEVER tasted banana bread like this, people request that I bring it everywhere I go. It is wonderful for gifts, freezes very well (if it lasts that long), and is BY FAR the most requested recipe of all the food I make.

Inspired by Mrs. Lula Streive’s recipe I have made a few personal touches! Here is what you will need:

5-6 Large & Ripe Bananas *I prefer 6 but it still turns out great with 5*

1 cup of sugar

2 Tablespoons of melted butter

1 egg

1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 cups Whole Wheat or All Purpose Flour  *SIFTED*

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

*1 cup chopped nuts (optional)*

*1/4 cup flaxseed meal (optional) – This is a terrific way to boost the nutritional value!*

The cast of characters for the main event!

The cast of characters for the main event!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 275* then Mix the bananas & the sugar

Ripe bananas &  sugar!

Ripe bananas & sugar!

Step 2: Blend in the egg, vanilla, and butter

Egg, Vanilla, & Butter

Egg, Vanilla, & Butter

Wet ingredients mixed and ready to add the dry ingredients!

Wet ingredients mixed and ready to add the dry ingredients!

Before we go any further I need to talk to you about sifting. Sifting MUST NOT be skipped! I use my Grandma Wilhelm’s sifter that she used making her famous homemade bread. My husband tries to convince me to buy a newer model but there is nothing like Grandma’s blessing in my kitchen. I refuse to update! If you don’t own a sifter my best suggestion is to go buy one right away, lol. The sifter in this picture is packed full of our family baking history and I’m in love with it!

Our baking heritage!

Our baking heritage!

Step 3: Add all dry ingredients flour, baking soda, baking powder, & salt right into the sifter

Add all dry ingredients into the sifter.

Add all dry ingredients into the sifter.

Step 4: Sift dry ingredients and add 1/2 at a time into the wet ingredients. Mix well and sift the remaining 1/2 of the dry ingredients. IF you wanted to add nuts or flaxseed meal now would be the time to mix those in, we prefer ours without nuts. Flaxseed meal is best if added after the sifting as it maintains some of the seed and doesn’t sift well. Flaxseed meal is full of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and you wont even know they are in this recipe! Click this link to learn more about the nutritional impact of flaxseeds.

Sift 1/2 of the dry ingredients into wet ingredients at a time.

Sift 1/2 of the dry ingredients into wet ingredients at a time.

Add second half of dry ingredients and mix just until fully blended.

Add second half of dry ingredients and mix just until fully blended.

Step 5: Spray 2 baking pans and split the dough between them.

Spray 2 baking pans and split the dough between them evenly.

Getting the baking pans ready!

Step 6: Put in preheated 275* oven for 60-65 minutes or until the toothpic comes out clean.

275* for 60-65 minutes

275* for 60-65 minutes

Its a beautiful sight!

Its a beautiful sight!

The final product will be a big hit I quarantee it! I cut each loaf into 8 servings for a total of 16 servings. This bread freezes really well and is perfect for gifts and large gatherings….if it makes it that far. Take a peek at the final product…

Smells so good! The final product!

Smells so good! The final product!

I hope you enjoy this fantastic Old Fashioned Banana Bread recipe! Feel free to pass it along to your friends and family. Thank you Mrs. Lula Streive & Vera-Jean Lipp for sharing this amazing treasure with all of us!!!!

Re-thinking Healthy Snacks: Crunchy & Salty

Re-thinking Healthy Snacks: Crunchy & Salty

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Good Morning! I woke up this morning on a mission to tackle a snack project and I’m dying to tell you about some changes going on in our household. A few months ago we had an annual physical and our doctor challenged us to eat EVEN healthier??? How could that be? Doesn’t he know we have lost over 215 pounds as a couple! Well let me explain…

First let’s clarify what the word healthy means to my doctor & now to us. “Healthy” is a buzz word all over the place and means something totally different based on the source, which I find totally annoying. In making our food healthier we are referring to increasing its nutritional muscle: i.e. nutrients, protein, fiber, and healthy oils. In addition we are also factoring in how processed the item is, are the ingredients recognizable, is it packed full of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Of course as we are also in the process of losing weight so I am considering how these snacks will impact our weight loss and measure up to the Weight Watchers program.

We are probably just like you; we get in a rut, and can eat the same things over and over again. Our snacks had fallen into this rut and really weren’t satisfying our cravings either! SO a reformation is in motion. Here are a few snacks we HAD been eating frequently.  Keep in mind these are still great tasting and great options for weight loss.

Pre-reformation Healthy Snacks

Pre-reformation Healthy Snacks

Popcorn Indiana Chipins (white cheddar, sea salt, jalapeno ranch & other varieties)

Fat 4g, Carbs 21 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*gluten free, non-gmo, no preservatives

 

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Whole Grain Cheddar

Fat 5g, Carbs 19g, Fiber 2g, Protein 4g – WWP+ per 30g serving = 4

 

Honey Maid Low Fat Honey Grahams

Fat 2g, Carbs 28g, Fiber 2g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 35g (8 crackers) serving = 4

Next we have our go to snacks that we absolutely aren’t willing to compromise on! It is not a secret that the Pina family loves popcorn, kettle corn, & caramel corn! Here are 3 of our very favorites!

Must Have Popcorn!!!

Must Have Popcorn!!!

 

Popcorn Indiana Popcorn (movie theater, white cheddar, & other varieties)

Fat 12g, Carbs 13g, Fiber 3g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 4

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Colby’s Kettle Corn (salty sweet addiction, butter salt craving, cinnamon sugar sensation)

Fat 7g, Carbs 15g, Fiber 2g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Angie’s Delightfully Different (salted caramel & other varieties)

Fat 8g, Carbs 19g, Fiber 2g, Protein 1g  – WWP+ per 28g serving = 4

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

Snack bags, digital food scale, & bulk healthy snacks. Preparation IS everything!

Snack bags, digital food scale, & bulk healthy snacks. Preparation IS everything!

Branching out, being adventurous & trying lots of new things REQUIRES thinking outside the box and sometimes the continent! Some of my Asian friends introduced me to Edamame years ago but it never found its way into our regular routine…..until now! I dare you to spontaneously stop & ask me at ANY given moment and I’m very likely to be carrying a snack pack of Edamame (unless the bad is already empty;). Dry roasted Edamame is a crunchy & salty treat that packs a big nutritional punch. The 3 grams of fiber & 10 grams of protein keep me full longer. The large quantity you get with 28 grams keeps my hands busy and emotionally satisfied! I am absolutely in love.

Roasted peas, roasted corn original & chili lime, edamame, sunflower seeds & almonds! Yumminess!

Roasted peas, roasted corn original & chili lime, edamame, sunflower seeds & almonds! Yumminess!

Let’s face it; eating healthy does take work & creativity. We are always on the go and need our snacks to be convenient, portable, and not overly expensive. Plus they need to be pleasing to our taste buds, which is of course the ultimate test. Buying in bulk keeps the cost down and I can separate them into portion sizes that are suitable and ready to go when we need them. Here are some terrific options we have fallen in love with recently. We buy these in bulk at the local Sprouts Farmers Market but if you don’t live in the area and have access you can check any grocery store. I have even found several of these items at Big Lots!

Colorful snacks packing a large nutritional punch that are ready to go when we are!

Colorful snacks packing a large nutritional punch that are ready to go when we are!

 

Edamame- dry roasted & salted

Fat 4g, Carbs 10g, Fiber 3g, Protein 10g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*two ingredients: soy bean & salt

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Green Peas – dry roasted & salted

Fat 4g, Carbs 17g, Fiber 5g, Protein 8g – WWP+ per 34g serving = 3

*gluten free, no preservatives

 

Almonds (raw, roasted with cinnamon & sugar)

Fat 14g, Carbs 6g, Fiber 3g, Protein 6g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 5

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

Here is a wonderful & easy link to my favorite recipe for DIY Cinnamon & Sugar Roasted Almonds. *Note I cut the sugar back to 1/4 cup of each.

 

Pumpkins Seeds – salted in shell *nutritional facts for kernels only*

Fat 9g, Carbs 3g, Fiber 1g, Protein 6g – WWP+ per 19g/56 kernels serving = 3

*two ingredients: pumpkin seeds & salt

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Toasted Corn (original, bbq, chili lime)

Fat 5g, Carbs 21g, Fiber 1g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*gluten free, *orginal has 2 ingredients and is non-gmo, all natural, no preservatives

*I’ll admit this one doesn’t have quite the nutritional impact of the above….but man are they good & a MUCH better alternative to fill the craving for tortilla chips, fritos, or doritos 😉

Now I’m all set and our snacks are ready to go for at least a month or more. It took me about 30 minutes to weigh & bag all those snacks. That was a 30 minutes well worth it let me tell you! Now when we are packing lunches, planning a day away from home, or even just craving crunchy & salty we are all set & ready to go! I hope you try & enjoy these healthy alternatives as much as we do!

Storage is a snap!

Storage is a snap!

***Please NOTE: All nutrutional information is based on the packaging we have in our home on this date. Please make sure to ALWAYS refer to the packages on the products you buy before consumption. If you are a Weight Watcher please ALWAYS calculate Pointsplus values based on the nutritional info on your packages. I have listed this information as a point of reference and discussion only.***

 

 

 

My Food for a Day!

My Food for a Day! – November 2, 2012

We have been on this journey long enough to endure lots of comments and feedback from well meaning friends and family. I’ve heard just about everything about healthy, fitness, and food but the one that always stands out as especially annoying and hilariously inaccurate is “You’re starving your body”. Hahahaha! It still cracks me up! Ok so once and for all I’m posting this to prove to the world that I probably eat more food in a day than most people and am still losing weight every week!

Our bodies are the most precious and amazing tool we will ever possess. This gift can be compared in its complexities to a machine such as an automobile. When we began this journey to getting physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy I would hear people say that I needed to listen to my body. Well I literally had NO idea what it meant to eat based on what my physical body needed since I have for YEARS made virtually all food choices based on emotions. I had to learn about this precious gift: my physical body and discover what it needed to not only function but thrive. This is the context to which I’ve also developed the concept of seeing food as fuel, such as gasoline for an automobile, rather than a way to process my emotions. Believe me that whole concept is a MAJOR work in progress and I do better on some days or weeks than others.

I discovered over time that my body likes fuel every few hours throughout the day. This is not necessarily part of the Weight Watchers program but my “machine” functions best when I do so. Eating this often allows me to never get a ravaging hunger that often leads to less self control and bad food choices. Having a plan also helps me manage my pointsplus (calories) and not exceed my limits each day. If you read my recent post “Top 10 Weight Loss Tips & Tricks” you may recall tip 10 which was “Have a Plan & Eat Often”. I outline in this post that I eat on the majority of days based on the following rough timeframe.

6:30 am-Breakfast

9:30am-Snack

12:00 pm-Lunch

3:00 pm-Snack

5:30 pm-Dinner

7:00pm-Snack

So let’s take a look at my food consumption on a typical day!

6:35am – Breakfast – Total Pointsplus=4

Sara Lee 90 Cal English Muffin (2 pp), 1 egg cooked on a nonstick pan with just a spray of oil (2 pp), 1 cup of tomato, ½ cup cucumber, 1 cup fresh pineapple, 12 oz herbal tea with 1 packet of Stevia, about 48 oz of water.

9:20am – Snack – Total Pointsplus=3

1 Large banana, 1 Oikos Plain Greek Yogurt (2 pp), 2 Stevia packets, Light Whipped Cream (1 pp), about 24 oz of water.

BEFORE

AFTER: Smashed banana, Stevia, Greek Yogurt, topped with Whipped Cream! YUMMINESS!

12:20pm – Lunch – Total Pointsplus=7

2 slices of Sprouts Honey Whole Wheat Bread (3 pp), 4 thin slices of ham (2 pp), 1 pc of Bordon 2% American cheese (1 pp), 10 sprays of I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter Spray, ½ cup homemade applesauce (1 pp), 1 cup grape tomatoes, about 48 oz of water.

BEFORE

AFTER: Hot Ham & Cheese on Honey Whole Wheat! Yumminess!

3:00pm – Snack – Total Pointsplus=4

Quaker Carmel Corn Rice Snack (3 pp), 1 Light String Cheese (1 pp), 2 cups of frozen red grapes, about 24 oz of water.

5:45pm – Dinner – Total Pointsplus=8

2 cups cooked zucchini cut in ribbons, 1 tsp olive oil (1 pp), Homemade Beef Spaghetti Sauce (5 pp), 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese (1 pp), 1 cranberry orange angel food cupcakes (1 pp), 2 Tbsp Light Whipped Cream (*0 pp), about 48 oz of water.

7:20pm – Snack – Total Pointsplus=4

38 oz. Kettle Corn, 12 oz of herbal tea, 1 Stevia packet, about 24 oz of water.

Total Daily Pointsplus Used = 29 + 1 Weekly Pointsplus = 30 Pointsplus used!

WOWOWOWOWOW! That’s plenty of food right? Do you still think I’m starving? Thanks everyone for following along today! I’d love your comments and feedback below. See you again soon!

Having Fun with Homemade Granola!

Having Fun with Homemade Granola! – August 22, 2012

I’ve mentioned to you in the past that I always get stuck when it comes to breakfast. Well one thing that I love is fruit, low fat yogurt, and homemade granola! Today I whipped up another batch 🙂 It is so quick and easy and lasts me several months. Here’s my recipe for today’s batch:

½ Cup Canola Oil

Canola Oil cooking spray

24 Oz. of Honey

1 Cup Molasses

2 ½ Cups Creamy Peanut Butter

2 Tablespoons of Salt

3 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon

2 Tablespoons of Ground Ginger

½ Tablespoon of Ground Cloves

3 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

42 oz container of Whole Oats *(NOT instant or quick Oats)*

3 Cups of Whole Almonds

½ Cup Chopped Pecans

½ Cup Dried Cranberries

1 Cup White Raisins

Preheat oven to 300* and spray two large cookie sheets with Canola Oil cooking spray. In LARGE pot heat oil, honey, molasses, peanut butter and stir often on medium heat. As it begins to melt add salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and vanilla extract. Once this mixture is completely melted and mixed well, turn off the heat and remove from the burner. Add in ½ of the Whole Oats and stir well. Add in almonds & pecans and stir well. Add the remaining ½ of the Whole Oats and stir until everything in the pot is covered. Pour and spread evenly onto the two cookie sheets. Cook at 300* for 10 minutes and stir, cook again for 10 minutes and stir, cook for another 10 minutes and stir well and remove from oven. The goal is to absorb a good about of the moisture in the cooking process but it will still be a little sticky when you remove it from the oven. Cool completely and then add Dried Cranberries and White Raisins.

*Very important to always add the dried fruit AFTER the cooking process because the fruit will dry up and harden in the oven and it is not good for your teeth or the flavor.*

This recipe makes two large gallon bags or 32 cups of granola. It freezes really well and is perfect for gifts! I eat this a few times a week and it will usually last us about 4 months. The beauty of homemade granola is that you can play with it and add what you like. I’ve decreased the honey in the past and added 1 cup of brown sugar. I’ve also added cocoa powder and cayenne powder which add a great flavor. I’ve used a bunch of other dried fruits and nuts in the past too. I’ve heard of people adding chocolate chips or marshmallows once it is cooled as well. I almost never make it the same way twice and always try to use up whatever I have in my home. Have fun with it and Enjoy!

Tips to add more Veggies to your Breakfast!

Tips to add more Veggies to your Breakfast! – April 18, 2012

I have been learning a lot about what my body needs to become physically healthy. It sounds ironic that I would be 35 years old and just now figuring this out. It took a total of 19 weeks of bed rest, June 2011 through January 2012, to cement in my thick skull how important it is to take care of my body. The way I see it healthy bodies are fueled by 4 things: eating healthy, regular exercise, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep. I’m sure there are many of other factors that may contribute but these are the main four that I am working on. So packing our meals with fresh vegetables has been a trick I’ve been mastering over the last 8 months now and I wanted to share some tips with you.

Tip 1:

Try to be intentional about adding at least one serving of vegetables to every meal of the day including your snacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) with my age, gender, and level of activity I should be consuming 2 cups of fruit & 3 cups of vegetables everyday to promote good health. Use this calculator from the CDC to determine your daily needed intake, I guarantee you will be shocked as I was! Plus my husband’s suggested veggie intake was significantly higher than mine! Check out this link to read an interesting article on Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables and this link will give you visual examples of several veggies and what the serving size looks like Examples of 1 cup serving.

Tip 2:

I have learned that if you’re going to be intentional about packing the menu with veggies it is going to take some planning & preparation. First we find that shopping weekly and buying only what we will eat in that week will help ensure freshness and the best taste possible. This goes for fruits as well but fresh produce doesn’t tend to stay as fresh past a week. Nutritional speaking fresh is best, frozen is ok, canned is better than nothing. However in the Pina household fresh veggies weekly is the only way we roll!

Tip 3:

Next I’ve learned to stay creative and try new things. My husband really wouldn’t go for it if I added a salad to every meal, believe me I tried and failed! I experiment ALOT and we like about 3 out of 4 recipes and we have tons of fun with it. Pinterest is my new best friend and allows me to explore tons of new recipes. Click here to follow me on Pinterest!

Tip 4:

Load up some of your family’s favorite dishes with extra veggies. This will add a huge nutritional impact and they don’t even realize it! For instance in our favorite ground turkey spaghetti sauce I double the onions, green peppers, and mushrooms for that extra veggie power! I also load up all of our sandwiches with extra vegetables such as cucumber slices, tomato, and spinach.

Tip 5:

When in doubt stuff the veggies! I’ve been known to put my ground turkey meatloaf in bell peppers (any color), tuna or chicken salad in tomatoes, pizza sauce & cheese in zucchini, and wild rice in acorn squash. Limitless possibilities my friends!

I have to admit that I personally find breakfast to be one of the hardest to pack veggies into, BUT not impossible. For the sake of space & time I’m going to share 3 of my favorite veggie packed breakfast ideas. These are all ones that we love & eat regularly!

First I’ll start with a Loaded Bagel Thin, here’s how I make them.

You’ll need the following:

Bagel thin (I like everything, whole wheat or plain for this)

Ripe avocado

Medium yellow onion

Tomatoes

Salt & pepper

Next thinly slice the tomato, thinly slice the yellow onion, and cut the avocado in half & remove the seed.

Next prepare a nonstick pan by spraying a few sprays of olive oil on medium high heat.

Add onions to the pan and begin to soften & slightly caramelize on both sides

After 3 to 5 minutes the onions will be done and should look like this:

Scoop out avocado. Here is hint, if you carefully pre-slice prior to removing from the skin it will lay nice & clean on your bagel. *If you are watching your weight I highly recommend weighing the avocado on a food scale in grams. Often avocados vary in size and it makes a significant difference in calories or Weight Watcher PointsPlus*

Avocados are a great source of healthy oil but if you don’t like them I also recommend 1 oz of reduced fat cream cheese which is also really yummy! Next we build the bagel: First toasted bagel & add avocado. I doesn’t have to be perfect, I just lay the avocado out as evenly as possible.

Now time to add the onions & tomatoes.

 To finish salt & pepper to taste! Enjoy!

Topping bagel thins or English muffins with vegetables are a really great way to incorporate veggies into your day. The sky is the limit; roasted red peppers, grilled zucchini, or even sautéed mushrooms would also taste great!

The second favorite veggie packed breakfast in our home is the Green Smoothie! Ok I’ll admit I was slow to grab hold of the Green Smoothie trend but I’m totally on board over the last 2 months. Basically a green smoothie is a regular fruit smoothie that is loaded with tons of veggies – commonly with some green veggies such as raw spinach, kale or arugula. Believe it or not you SERIOUSLY can’t taste them at all. I want to caution you on this, as I’ve been researching green smoothie recipes some of them get really high in calorie count (or WWP+) so be careful what you put in these if you are watching your weight. *I also don’t choose to use this as a meal replacement but rather incorporate it into my daily points and the daily number of fruits I consume.*after tons of experimentation here is my favorite combination:

1 cup of ice cubes

2 cups raw spinach

1 large banana

1 cup strawberries

1/2 cup 1% milk (1 WWP+)

1 scoop protein powder (mine is 3 WWP+ but check your brand’s label because they all vary)

Load it all in the blender like so:

I blend it really well until it is smooth and creamy. Here is the final product!

Great way to pack in some great veggies. Have fun & experiment with all kinds of combinations of fruits & veggies. I also really like blueberries, oranges, and canned pumpkin!

Finally the last veggie packed breakfast I am going to share is my husband’s favorite. Basically any combination of sautéed, grilled, or roasted veggies & eggs. Adrian LOVES eggs for breakfast and could probably eat them every day. He has recently discovered egg whites in the container and loves how convenient they are to use. Here are some great combination ideas that could be made into an omelet, egg scramble, or a frittata.

Baby portabella mushrooms

Zucchini slices

Diced onion

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 cup of egg whites

Or

Roasted red bell pepper

Roasted cauliflower

Diced red onion

1/2 cup of egg whites

This if the first of 4 blog posts with tips on packing veggies into our meals. I hope you were inspired to try some new things. I’d love to hear from you guys on what you find helps you eat more veggies. I’d love to hear some of your favorite breakfast recipes that are packed with veggies!

Healthy Roasted Veggie Lasagna

Healthy Roasted Veggie Lasagna – March 20, 2012

Prep time: Up to 90 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes, cool time 10 minutes

This recipe is my creation derived from some recipes I found from The Pioneer Woman & Martha Stewart. I made them healthier but choosing leaner cheese, using less cheese, and cutting the oil in at least half. I also tripled the veggies from the recipes I found. This means it is more vitamin packed, however it also means it added about 30 minutes into the prep time. This makes 8 large portions that I have calculated to be 11 WWP+ per serving. If you are a WW please make sure to recalculate the recipe based on the brands you choose as the pointsplus values can change. So let’s get started.

Ingredient List

1 Eggplant, peeled and cut into ½” rounds

2 zucchini

1 yellow squash

1 red bell pepper

1 head of cauliflower

1 large red bell pepper

1 large yellow onion, cut into large dice

8oz package of Baby Bella mushrooms

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons of garlic powder, divided

3 teaspoon of garlic salt, divided

2 Tablespoons of Italian herbs, divided

1 cup parts skim ricotta cheese

2 large eggs, raw

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

1 2/3 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Olive oil cooking spray

36 oz of Classico’s Traditional Sweet Basil pasta sauce (which is 1 1/2 jars or whatever kind you enjoy), divided

1 box of oven ready lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 425* and spray two large cookie sheets. We will begin by prepping all the veggies for roasting. Roasting these veggies will take more time but it adds a tremendous amount of flavor and it is totally worth it!

*Very important when prepping the veggie to try to cut them around the same depth so that they will roast evenly. *

Starting with the eggplant cut the ends off and peeled it with a potato peeler.

Then cut the eggplant into ½” circles (rather than long strips) See the picture below.

Next I tackled the zucchini and yellow squash. In order to maintain the same depth for even roasting I cut in half length and depth, then in ½” thick slices. See pictures below.

 

The red bell pepper I cored and cut into 2” cubes.

Deconstruct the cauliflower and cut into bite sized pieces. Spray olive oil cooking spray on two large cookie sheets. Add the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, and cauliflower. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt to each cookie sheet. Mix well and spread out evenly. Place on center racks in the preheated 425* oven for approximately 60 minutes.

Flip or mix every 15 minutes and rotate pans for even roasting. This photo was after 30 minutes; notice the browning on the eggplant. This color shows the added flavor that you are looking for in roasting veggies.

Cut a large onion in a large dice. Clean & cut 8 oz. of baby bella mushrooms into 1/2″ thick pieces. You can use any mushroom, I like the depth of flavor of baby bellas. Spray a large nonstick pan with olive oil cooking spray. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and heat to medium high. Add 1 teaspoon of garlic salt and sauté onion and mushroom mixture until lightly caramelized and tender. *You could probably also roast the onion and mushroom in the oven I just didn’t have any more room in my oven*

As all the veggies are cooking mix the cheesy combination: 1 cup of part skim ricotta, 1/3 cup of finely shredded mozzarella, 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, 2 eggs, 2 Tablespoons of Italian Herbs, 2 Tablespoons of garlic powder. Mix well and set aside.

Once the veggies are all complete begin building the lasagna by spraying olive oil cooking spray in a large & deep baking dish. Place 2 Tablespoons of pasta sauce and spread evenly.

Then place the first layer of pasta in the bottom of the baking dish. *Note* If you choose to use “oven ready” lasagna noodles as I did you will notice that they absorb ALOT of sauce and continue to do that each time you reheat the meal. So if you like a lot of sauce and choose to use this noodle I recommend adding at least an extra 1/2 cup of sauce to each layer.*

Before I continued building the lasagna I mixed all the roasted veggies together with the onions and mushrooms EXCEPT the eggplant that I kept separate. Here is how I built the layers from the bottom up:

Olive oil cooking spray

2 Tablespoons of pasta sauce

Oven ready lasagna noodles, even layer

Pasta sauce, even layer

1/2 of roasted eggplant pieces

1/2 of veggie mixture

1/3 cup of finely shredded mozzarella

Oven ready lasagna noodles, even layer

Pasta sauce, even layer

1/2 of roasted eggplant pieces

1/2 of veggie mixture

All of the cheesy ricotta mixture

1/3 cup of finely shredded mozzarella

Oven ready lasagna noodles, even layer

Pasta sauce, even layer

1/4 cup of grated parmesan

2/3 cup finely shredded mozzarella

Here’s what is looks like all built up! Looking good so far 🙂

Next wrap really tightly with foil. Place in preheated 425* oven for 60 minutes or until noodles are cooked completely through. After taking it out of the oven allow it to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. Cut into at least 8 pieces, serve & enjoy! Here is the final product when cut, super yummy!

Lazy Man’s Cabbage Rolls

Lazy Man’s Cabbage Rolls – March 3, 2012

This is a really easy, healthy, and tasty recipe. My grandmother gave me the original and I modified it just a bit to make it healthier. They call it Lazy Man’s Cabbage Rolls because it is a deconstructed roll that still maintains the same yummy flavors without all that hard work.

Here are the ingredients:

Cooking Spray

1 medium sized head of green cabbage, cut into 1” squares

1 large onion, diced

1 lb of extra lean ground beef (93%/ 7% at least)

½ cup instant rice (I used Minute rice)

1 ½ Tablespoons of garlic powder

1 Teaspoon of garlic salt

½ Teaspoon of ground pepper

15 oz can of diced tomatoes

15 oz can of tomato sauce

10 ¾ oz can of tomato soup (I prefer Campbell’s)

1 ½ cup of water

So here is how you prepare this meal. Preheat the oven to 350*. Spray large baking dish with cooking spray. Cut cabbage into 1” squares, if you have a large head of cabbage as I did just use ¾ of the head of cabbage. Place cabbage into the bottom of the baking dish as shown below.

Brown ground beef with onion & seasonings until cooked well (mine was still in the cooking process in this picture.

Add rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, & tomato soup to the meat mixture and bring to a boil.

Pour meat & tomato mixture over the cabbage in the baking dish.

Add 1 ½ cups of water, cover tightly with foil, and place in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes until cabbage is tender and the majority of the liquid is absorbed. Here is what the final product will look like!

I portioned this into 8 servings and according to my calculations it is only 4 WWP+ per serving. It is low fat, packed with veggies, and super easy to prepare. Let me know if you enjoy this Pina Family favorite!

3 Healthy & Yummy Soup Favorites

3 Healthy & Yummy Soup Favorites – January 29, 2012

I shared with you in “Let the recipes begin…Basic Chicken Broth” that we are a soup loving family. We often make a big pot of soup on Sunday night and eat on it all week long. So here are three of our favorite soup recipes.

Lentil & Veggie Soup

First I’ll begin with a lentil soup recipe that is healthy, hearty, and totally easy. I got the shell of this from Weight Watchers but added some of my own personal touches.

Ingredients

10-12 cups of my Basic Chicken Broth or a store bought Fat Free broth

1 pound dry lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced celery *including the celery leaves adds terrific flavor*

2 cups diced yellow onion

4 cloves of garlic minced

4 medium bay leaves

3 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp garlic salt

1 tsp ground pepper

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

28 oz of diced tomatoes including juice

4 fresh large tomatoes diced

Instructions

  • · Combine the broth, lentils, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and seasonings in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with tomato juice, fresh tomatoes, & the vinegar and simmer about 30 more minutes until desired thickness is reached & tomatoes break down. Remove bay leaves prior to serving. Yields 2 cups per serving. This recipe makes between 8-10 servings.
  • · This is definitely a soup that gets better each day that you eat it. If it gets too thick after a day or two I’ll defiantly add another cup or two of chicken broth. It freezes well and is rich & flavorful!

Ground Turkey & Veggie “Yankee” Chili

Ingredients

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 ¼ pound raw extra lean ground turkey

2 cups diced yellow onion

2 cups diced green bell pepper

4 cloves of garlic minced

6-8 cups of my Basic Chicken Broth or a store bought Fat Free broth

2 cups diced & pealed carrots

2 cups diced celery

28 oz diced tomatoes with tomato juice

28 oz whole tomatoes with tomato juice

2 Tbsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp Italian herbs

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp garlic salt

1 Tbsp ground pepper

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

*for extra spice add 1-2 tsp of chili paste

16 oz dark red kidney beans

Instructions

  • · Brown ground turkey with oil, onion, bell pepper, & garlic. Once meat is cooked completely add carrots, celery, & seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add diced & whole tomatoes & broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours. Add the kidney beans and simmer for additional 10 minutes. Yields 2 cups per serving. This recipe makes between 8-10 servings.
  • · I know everyone has a way to make chili and the foundation of this comes from the Betty Crocker cookbook. This chunky chili has an added boost of nutrition with all the yummy veggies. It has a “Yankee” flair and added protein from the kidney beans. We will often eat it over baked potatoes or angel hair pasta topped with fresh diced tomatoes & onion. It also freezes really well and tastes even better the next day.

Chicken Noodle Soup

*Did you read my blog entry “Let the recipes begin…Basic Chicken Broth”? I am going to use not only that broth but that cooking process for the chicken in this chicken noodle soup as well. As I mentioned in the previous blog you can use any type of chicken; whole, thighs, split breasts, or leg quarters. I am going to use leg quarters because that is what was on sale. The absolutely best way to infuse terrific flavor into chicken noodle soup is making your own broth. So if you don’t make the broth for anything else do it for this soup.

Ingredients

1 family package of chicken leg quarters – qty will vary based on package but there is usually 4-5 large pieces of chicken. Cook chicken according to the Basic Chicken Broth recipe. Allow to cool enough to comfortable debone and separate the meat. Once deboned I had 21 oz of chicken meat so that will vary based on the type of chicken you use and the size of the package of meat.

2 cups of diced onion

2 cups of diced carrots

2 cups of diced celery *including the celery leaves adds terrific flavor*

4 bay leaves

8 cups of my Basic Chicken Broth or a store bought Fat Free broth

4 cups of water

1 package of wide pasta noodles (egg or no egg doesn’t matter)

*chicken bouillon cubes or salt if needed

Instructions

  • · Combine the 2 cups of broth, onions, carrots, & celery and cook in a large stock pot on medium until the veggies start to get softened. Add shredded chicken, remaining 6 cups of broth, 4 cups of water & bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Taste to see if it needs salt or an additional chicken bouillon cube. The reason we use the water is to temper the salt if you like more salt you can replace the water with broth. Bring back up to a boil and add the package of wide pasta noodle. Boil with noodles only 5-6 minutes until noodles are just tender. Yields 2 cups per serving. This recipe makes between 8-10 servings.
  • · If you plan to eat this over several days you’ll notice that the noodle will absorb broth and grow in size. It is best to reheat a bowl at a time instead of reheating the entire pot to limit the sogginess of the noodles. Additional broth can be added with reheating if needed. The basic simple flavors of this soup are great when you are sick or on a cold winter day.

Pina favorite meals, snacks, & treats 2011

Pina favorite meals, snacks, and treats 2011 – January 27, 2012

I’ve had several people ask about some of our favorite meals and how I plan our menus. We have found in the last few months many things that work for us and many things that don’t. I’m going to share some key meals that we have regularly and then some key snacks & treats that are must haves in the Pina household. Remember how I told you guys awhile back that I am a self proclaimed foodie. Well that definitely comes into play with my meal planning because I’m always thinking about something new to try and staying creative. My husband is a full time seminary student and works a part time job & due to my continued health issues I am laid off and will probably remain that way for a little while. What that means to our meals is that we eat at home 99% of the time. We only eat out one meal every week to save money and it will usually be a meal of no more than $30 including tip, aka. not an expensive restaurant & usually one that provides their nutritional info online.

As I begin to think about what we may want to eat for the week I usually find that categorizing the meals really helps me. I create a basic menu and then write out the grocery list. I try to include at least two of what Weight Watcher’s calls “Power Foods” into each of our three meals per day. Power foods are things like: fruit, veggies, low fat proteins, high fiber breads, rice or pasta or grains. Prioritizing Power Foods helps ensure the high nutritional value of our meals.

*Note* I mentioned in “Finding the path….to adequate sleep & water intake” we really only drink water these days. We typically drink about 32 oz of water with each meal. Rarely will we use a sugar free mix-in with the water when we want something different or sweet. Neither of us likes drinking our calories.

Here are some common favorite meals in the Pina household…

Breakfasts:

-Sugar Free Instant Oatmeal (any flavor) cooked with ½ cup of 1% milk & an orange

-Sara Lee 90 Calorie English Muffin with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter & a banana

-2 pcs of Nature’s Own Raisin Bread toasted with spray butter & an apple (Adrian checked a bunch of brands and this has the least amount of fat & carbs, or for WW it has the least amount of points plus value.

-2 pcs of 35 calorie wheat bread toasted with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter & 1 Tbsp of Jam (any flavor) & fresh strawberries

-Deep chocolate Vitalicious* VitaMuffin Vitatop & a banana (these are found in the freezer section near the breakfast items but for the best price order them online)

Lunches:

Lunch will often incorporate left over’s from dinner or if I make a big pot of soup we will eat on that at lunch for a few days. If not here are some of our favorite lunches

-Pita Pizzas made with a whole wheat pita, 2 Tbsp Oscar Mayer bacon bits, loads of veggies, 1/3 cup of part skim mozzarella on each half of the pita, ½ cup of tomato pasta sauce + some kind of fruit. This is at least a twice a week meal in our household. We love to get that yummy cheesy indulgence without all the extra calories from normal pizza. We even tried BBQ Chicken this week and it was delish!

-2 Oscar Mayer 98% fat free hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, & chopped onion + Potato Straws & some kind of fruit (occasionally we’ll do these with low fat canned turkey chili & a Tbsp of 2% cheddar cheese)

-2 black bean tostadas made by baking white corn tortillas until crisp in the oven. Then I take fat free canned whole black beans and crush them with a fork and add a clove or two of grated garlic. Mix in finely diced onion and spread mixture over crisp tortillas. Top with 1/3 cup part skim mozzarella & bake until cheese is melted. Serve with ½ cup of salsa and 2 Tbsp of light sour cream + some kind of fruit (Even my meat loving husband adores this dish!)

-Some kind of sandwich made with 35 calorie bread (photo above). We like BLT’s (bake bacon crisp in oven, pat off most of the fat, & weigh out 2 oz. on the food scale), turkey or ham lunch meat, tuna or chicken salad made with Hellman’s Olive Oil Mayo. Key on each of these is fresh tomato, lettuce, and pickles (with lunchmeat). + some kind of fruit of course and possibly Apple Straws.

Dinners:

-Meatloaf – I use either 1 ¼ lbs of raw extra super lean ground turkey or ground beef (no more than 5% fat), 1 egg, ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs, ½ cup finely chopped onion, 1 tsp dill, 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp garlic salt. Form into a log and liberally top with ketchup. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I use this same recipe and fill green bell peppers for stuffed peppers. I serve this with 6 oz of boiled potatoes & at least 1 cup of steamed broccoli (I seriously can’t get enough broccoli).

-Ground turkey tacos – 1 ¼ lb extra super lean ground turkey, 1 cup of diced onion, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 Tbsp oregano, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 tsp garlic salt. Cook this mixture until meat is fully cooked & then add 1 package of taco seasoning & 1 can of Rotel. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Did you notice there is no oil needed in this recipe? We eat these on white corn tortillas that have been warmed on the stove, 1/3 cup part skim mozzarella, tons of salsa, and 2 Tbsp of light sour cream.

-Grilled chicken parmesan – Clean, trim & fillet (cut in half length wise so that it is thin) 2 large boneless skinless chicken breast. Season the raw meat with 1 tsp of garlic salt & 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Add 1 tsp of olive oil to hot pan and cook chicken about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. We serve this with ½ cup of warmed tomato pasta sauce (I love Classico’s Sweet Tomato & Basil) and 1/3 cup of part skim mozzarella cheese. This can be served with a side of baked spaghetti squash or 2 oz of angel hair pasta. Super simple, fast & yummy!

-Roasted pork tenderloin – Pork tenderloin either pre-seasoned by the store or seasoned with garlic salt & ground pepper, or a variety of seasoning packets from the grocery store. Placed on roasting pan in pre-heated 350* oven for 30 -45 minutes depending on how large the loin is. We serve this with Rice-A-Roni or roasted potatoes & steamed cauliflower or sautéed zucchini.

-Baked egg plant parmesan – peel & slice egg plant ½ inch thick, wash in egg whites and dredge in bread crumb mixture. Bread crumb mixture is ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp garlic salt, 2 Tbsp Italian herbs. Spray cookie sheet and bake breaded egg plant pieces at 400* for 20 – 25 minutes flipping once in between. Egg plant should be crisp on each side. Next form the dish by placing one layer of egg plant into sprayed baking dish, then top with 2/3 cup of tomato pasta sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese. Then repeat layer of egg plant, layer of sauce, layer of cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted. Super Yummy! Yes my meat loving husband adores this dish!

Snacks & Treats:

Bananas, grapes, pineapple, apples, pears, strawberries, blackberries – always fresh & we eat between 3-4 fruits each per day

Light Yogurt (especially light banana pudding yogurt with a sliced banana and light whipped cream – super yummy)

Light String Cheese

Baby carrots, sliced apples, or celery stalks with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter (everything is good with peanut butter)

Fat free tortilla with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter & a banana (also good for breakfast) the best brand I have found hands down is called La Banderita in the northern states & Ole in Texas but they are the same company. You would NEVER be able to tell this is fat free they taste amazing!

-Potato, Apple, or Veggie Straws by Sensible Portions. This is the best thing that has happened to us in a long time as far as snacks go. These are so good especially on days when we are craving something salty & crunchy. They are SOOOOOOOO good! You find them usually right above the rice cakes.

-Jolly Time Healthy Pop Butter Popcorn 97% fat free *not because it has WW logo on it but we tried a BUNCH of different brands and like the flavor of this one best!

-Vitalicious* VitaMuffin Vitatops & VitaCakes (there are tons of flavors available online and they taste SO much better than the Fiber One products in our opinion – see image of Vitatops above) This Fudgy Chocolate cake satisfies my chocolate craving any day and it is only 1 WW pointsplus!

-Rainbow sherbet ½ cups. Pre-portioned makes it so easy and limits me from over scooping 🙂

-Vanilla ice cream ½ cups

-Sugar free Fudgsicle fudge bars. Yummy only 1 WW points plus and I eat one everyday 🙂 You would seriously never been able to tell these are sugar free so they are great for kids.

-Sweet Delites ice cream bars. These are a brand new find for us actually today. I am already in love and one bar is ZERO WW points plus. Also really good if you have kids.

-Ice cream sandwiches – this is my husband favorite daily indulgence

Yes I know its winter but we love our frozen treats 🙂

So these are some of the meals and items that we have tried and really like. Using our plan and being creative we can feel good about what we are putting into our bodies and don’t have to feel left out or deprived. Our meals are always evolving and change often. I’ll keep you posted on all my yummy discoveries!

Questions for you….

1. What are some of your favorite meals?

2. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

3. Was there anything interesting here that you might try at home?

Let the recipes begin…Basic Chicken Broth

Let the recipes begin…Basic Chicken Broth – January 26, 2012

I have followed some of the famous cooking blogs, such as “Confessions of a Pioneer Woman” by Ree Drummond at http://thepioneerwoman.com for years. As I begin to share my recipes and thoughts on food I want to begin with a few disclaimers. I have loved to cook for the majority of my life. I love to host parties, plan menus, decorate, buy the cute matching dishes, and all that goes along with it. In some circles I may even be known as a “Hostess with the Mostest”. However, given the fact that I live in a TINY seminary housing apartment and the best camera that I have in my unemployed possession is the camera on my phone – these pictures will definitely not be the quality of my Pioneer Woman companion! That said I hope that you will enjoy seeing the process that I use in making the base for 3 of our favorite soups (soup recipes coming soon). I am trying this picture idea out with my Basic Chicken Broth recipe to see how it goes. I use this basic chicken broth not only as a base for my soups, but in tons of different recipes because it adds a ton of wonderful flavor.

Why start with soups? Great question! Meal planning has always been a big part of our world since the beginning of our marriage. As I’ve mentioned in the past we have both always worked full time jobs and gone to school full time for the last almost 10 years now. So without some intentional planning we would be eating out almost every meal. A revelation about my husband early in our marriage was his absolute love for soups. I didn’t really grow up eating too many homemade soups outside of the frequent pot of “Yankee” chili during the cold Ohio winters. So as a new wife I began to learn and love soups. A big pot of soup will usually have between 8-10 servings and this translates in our family of 2 into 4-5 meals. My soup journey began with making a big pot every Sunday evening along with preparing a normal meal. The soup wouldn’t be eaten then but was in preparation for our week. It allowed for several easy, hot, healthy, homemade, and convenient meals and has become part of our repertoire since then.

Ok, on with the food. I am going to share how I prepare a basic Chicken broth. I am going to use this broth in the three soup recipes that I will share with you soon. I choose the make the broth over buying it in the box for three reasons: 1. I save money, 2. Homemade has much better flavor, 3. Homemade allows me to control how much fat & sodium are in my soup. When preparing a chicken broth you have the liberty to add many different ingredients to enhance the flavor. As I will be using this in three totally different flavors of soups I am keeping it very basic and simple and will be adding more “flavoring” agents directly to each individual soup recipe. Please note it is best if you are planning to make a soup that you prepare this broth at least one day in advance.

To begin you will need the following:

-A large stock pot or crock pot to cook it in. Size should be enough for your meat, veggies, and at least 8-10 cups of water. The larger the pot the more broth you will make.

-As for the chicken I am using a family size package of chicken leg quarters because they were only $0.88 a pound. I will also use a whole chicken, chicken thighs, or split chicken breast depending what is on sale.

A large onion, 4-5 unpeeled carrots, 4-5 stalks of celery preferably with the leaves on. These veggies just need to be rinsed well and cut into a good size to fit into the pot. You don’t have to be fussy about chopping or peeling anything. These are just basic flavor agents.

3 chicken bouillon cubes, 8-10 cups of water. This is where some of my sodium control comes in. Adding bouillon cubes will enhance the flavor of the broth and will be the only salt item that I add. With a pot this size I use 3 cube of this brand.

So now that we have all the players in place let’s begin with putting ½ of the veggies in the bottom of the pot. One of my planning tools also including my well worn crock pot. I have set this to cook Sunday morning while we are at church and I can leisurely complete the process later this afternoon. If you don’t have a crock pot the same process is easily done with a large stock pot on the stove and we’ll get to more on that in a bit.

Next I will rinse and trim the chicken. I am only trimming the huge chucks of fat (pictured on the left side of my cutting board) that are visible on the back of the leg quarter. After this has cooked I have a great trick to share that will easily remove all the remaining fat from the broth. Again this doesn’t need to be a fussy process.

Next add the chicken to the crock pot

Next add the remaining veggies over the top of the chicken so that all the chicken gets exposure to our flavoring agents. Crumble the bouillon cubes and add water till you reach the top of the pot.

I set me crock pot on the 4-6 hour setting depending on how much meat I am preparing. If you are doing this on the stove in a stock pot you will want to bring the completed above preparation to a boil first for about 20 minutes and then turn it down to simmer on medium/low heat for at least 4 hours.

When cooking is complete and the broth has developed nicely after at least 4-6 hours this is what product should look like.

Another part of the beauty in this process is that the chicken will be used in my chicken soup recipe so nothing goes to waste in this process and my grocery budget is maximized. You will remove & discard the veggie flavor agents that have completed their work. Place the hot chicken in a collinder to cool so that it can be deboned.

After everything is removed from the pot you will have a wonderful rich color broth remaining.

Laddle every little bit of the broth into convenient *plastic* containers. There may be small pieces of chicken & other bits that add tremdous flavor to the soup so definitely don’t discard that. Plastic is important if you are going to freeze the broth as I will be for future use because glass doesn’t always freeze well. I find these tall narrow containers work really well and fit easily into the door of my freezer.

Do you notice the distinct color difference due to the separation of oil at the top of the chicken broth container? As I mentioned earlier if possible it is best to make the broth the day before you want to cook one of your soups. This fat separation is the reason that early preparation is necessary. As this broth cools either in the freezer or the refrigerator the fat will solidify into a white waxy substance at the very top of the container that will easily be scraped off and discarded.

This is the most efficient way that I have found to remove the fat from a homemade chicken broth. That leaves you with a beautiful, rich, flavorful broth that is practically 100% fat free. Check out the before & after below

So that is my Basic Chicken Broth recipe. Pretty simple huh? The difference is flavor is huge compared to what you can buy in the grocery store. Coming soon are three of our favorite healthy, low fat soups: Veggie & Lentil, Ground Turkey & Veggie “Yankee” Chili, and my famous Homemade Chicken Noodle. Each of these recipes has a totally different flavor profile and this basic chicken broth works perfectly in each!