Monthly Archives: January 2012

Agave-Sweetened Raspberry Tart with Greek Yogurt

I came up with this over the last holiday season while I was looking for something to take to parties that wasn’t too far off the diet plan.

The inspiring recipe was from Food and Wine and sported a remarkable 134 calories per serving.  The original called for blueberries.  It was, however, the holidays so I started by swapping out the blueberries for something festive.  Luckily, I found raspberries that fit the bill.  I’m sure other berries would adapt quite well too.

Instead of honey, I opted for the lower glycemic Agave nectar.  I left the crust pretty much as original, using gram crackers and candied ginger.  The ginger adds a bit of something special to the crust, though if you are without, I don’t believe skipping that ingredient would be the end of the world.  The creamy texture of the greek yogurt paired with the subtle sweetness of the agave and the bright tartness of the raspberries was a wonderful combination that received rave reviews.


10 whole graham crackers

1/4 cup Crystalized ginger, finely chopped

1 tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg white

2 cups nonfat greek style yogurt, drained overnight

2 tbsp amber agave nectar plus 2 tbsp light agave nectar (or 4 tbsp of either type, divided)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 pints fresh raspberries


Drain the greek yogurt in the refrigerator overnight in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly spray 11″ nonstick tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.  In a food processor, pulse together graham crackers, crystalized ginger, sugar and salt until finely ground.  Add butter and egg white and process until crumbs are evenly coated.  With a sprayed rubber spatula or your fingers, press crumbs into bottom and up sides of prepared tart pan, as evenly and thinly as possible.  Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until crust is golden.  Cool completely.

Prepare glaze by mixing 2 tbsp light agave nectar and 1 tbsp water in small pan, bring just to boil.  Allow to boil gently for about 2 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Mix drained yogurt and 2 tbsp of amber agave nectar and vanilla.  Once crust has completely cooled, spread yogurt mixture in crust.  Starting in center, arrange fruit from center to edge of tart.  Brush fruit with agave glaze.

Allow to set completely in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.  Cut into 12 pieces.  Enjoy!

Choose fresh berries for both color and flavor

Spread filling evenly over cooled crust

Arrange fruit evenly over filled crust

applying agave glaze to tart

Finished product


Spinach Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin

Nothing compares to the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven.  Tenderloins are a great alternative to the standard Thanksgiving bird and can cook quickly enough for a mid-week meal.  Avoiding the carbs associated with the bread-stuffed bird, here I opted for fresh spinach combined with a creamy Havarti that made for a filling reminiscent of creamed spinach.  If you’re concerned with the full-fat cheese, go for a reduced fat mozzarella for a good alternative.


2 Turkey Tenderloins, approx 1 pound

2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

3 ounces Dill Havarti

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp paprika


Preheat oven to 425.  Prepare stuffing by combining the spinach, cheese, oregano, black pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium-sized bowl.

Cut a pocket in each of the tenderloins by cutting from one side almost through to the other.  Stuff each tenderloin with half of the stuffing mixture.  Secure the tenderloin with 3 or 4 toothpicks or wooden skewers. Place tenderloins in a oiled baking dish.

Combine remaining olive oil, salt and paprika. Brush evenly over turkey.  Bake at 425 until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, approximately 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Serves 4

Approximate nutritional info*

Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Sodium
Per Serving: 301 1 17 40 0 342
*calculated using

Red Lentil-Coconut Soup

Red Lentil Coconut Soup

This quick and easy soup is both healthy and satisfying.  The balance of eastern spices and sweet coconut makes for a perfect starter for dinner or a quick winter lunch.  Lentils are a great source of protein and pairs very well with the coconut milk.

Red lentils have been a bit of a challenge to find in my regular groceries, though I have found Bob’s Red Mill brand red lentils at the local “job lots” discount store.  Green lentils substitue just fine, though the red lentil lends a beautiful warm yellow hue to the end product.

Substitue vegetable broth for the chicken broth if  you want to go vegetarian.  Choose a “lite” coconut milk to save on some fat and calories.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tbsp minced pealed fresh ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, divided

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp crushed red pepper

5 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup dried red lentils

1 cup coconut milk

juice of 1/2 lime

dash of salt


Heat Olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven.  Add onion and cook 8-10 minutes until brown.  Stir in ginger, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until fragrent.  Stir in 2 tbsp of chopped cilantro.

Add broth and lentils, bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Puree soup with an emersion blender or in batches in a standard blender.  Return to medium heat.  Add coconut milk, lime, salt.  Garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

Makes 4 Servings

Approximate Nutritional Info*

Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Sodium
Per Serving: 367 32 28 13 5 211

*calculated using

Pork Chops with Apricot-Tomato Chutney

I was trying to find something new to do with some boneless pork chops and found this recipe on EatingWell.  In their take on a lighter pork chop, the combine the pork with dried apricots, canned tomatos and some crushed red pepper.

The recipe is noted as just under 250 calories per serving, 10g fat and 11g carbs.

This had a nice flavor, though I think the thyme and apricot and lemon flavors could use a boost.  I’ll definitely try this one again adding my own spin and post the results

Check out the original recipe here:

The Pork went well with pan roasted cauliflower and baked sweet potato “fries”.  For a light but sweet finish, I served up some beautiful fresh blackberries and granola over agave sweetened non-fat greek yogurt  (shown below).

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Here is a quick and easy stir fry dish with far less fat and sugar than the standard carry-out Sweet and Sour.


1 pound chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces.

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp apricot preserves

2 tbsp corn starch

2 tbsp canola oil, divided

1/2 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

2 cups broccoli cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots julienned, approx. 1 cup

1/2 jalapeno or other hot chile, seeded and finely chopped

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped


Combine vinegar, soy sauce, corn starch and preserves in a small bowl, set aside

Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook 2 minutes.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until no longer pink and just starting to brown, 2-3 minutes more.  Transfer to plate.

Add remaining 1 tbsp oil.  Add onion and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until garlic starts to brown.  Add chile and carrot.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until carrots start to soften.  Add broccoli and cilantro and cook for approx 1 minute, until broccoli starts to soften.

Stir in chicken, chicken broth and reserved vinegar mixture to pan.  Bring to boil.  Simmer until chicken is heated through and sauce has thickened, about 1 minute.

Serve over brown rice.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

In hopes of satiating a craving, I’ve been working on lightening up the standard pizza recipe by topping it with a reduced fat cheese, lean meat and veggies and of course adding some whole grains by starting with a whole wheat dough.

Yield: 2 thin 16″ pizza crusts


1 package active dry yeast

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp agave nectar

1/2 tsp salt


Proof yeast according to package directions.

In a food processor, add both flours, salt, prepared yeast, oil, agave and any remaining water.  Pulse processor to combine all ingredients.  Process until the dough begins to form a ball on the food processor blade.  Remove dough to a large oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Punch down dough and transfer to a floured board.  Knead briefly.  Divide into two portions, forming each portion into round disk about 8 inches in diameter.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

If only making one pie, place second dough ball in plastic wrap inside of a ziplock bag and freeze for later use.

 Remove from refrigerator and bring to room tempurature before proceeding.  On a floured surface, roll and steatch each piece of dougn into a 16″ circle.  Place each circle on a dusted pizza peal or screen and top as desired.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F and bake for 15-18 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown

Ham, Roasted Red Pepper and Black Olive Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas

I’m from the South, so it’s just not New Year’s Day if there isn’t a big pot of Black-Eyed Peas on the stove.  Traditionally, Black-Eyed Peas are both a bringer of good luck for the year as well as a great hangover food.  The hardest part of the process is remembering to soak them then night before.  So after you pop that last bottle of bubbly, grab a bag of dried peas and throw them in a bowl to soak.  You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

Since I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, I tried to lighten the whole thing up a bit this year, opting for smoked turkey for flavoring instead of my beloved pork fat.  Feel free to use Ham Hocks or my usual favorite, the left-over Christmas Ham bone.  Bon Appetite!


1 Bag dried black eyed peas.  Rinsed, sorted and soaked overnight.  Drained

2 tbsp Canola Oil

1 Small Onion diced

3 pieces (approx. size of a fist) Smoked Turkey Tails, Necks or Legs

1 tsp kosher salt

Black Pepper to taste

3 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme plus additional sprigs for garnish

Drain peas from soaking liquid and sort to make sure any foreign materials are removed.


In Large Cast Iron dutch heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion.  Saute until soft.

add drained peas, turkey, black pepper and.  Add water to the pot until peas are covered by at least an inch.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  When pot reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until peas are soft– two to three hours.  Skim surface of any accumulated fat and discard.

Remove turkey about 30 minutes before serving.  Remove meat from bone and add meat back to peas, discarding bones.

Add a Dash of Hot Sauce if you like it spicy and garnish with thyme sprig. Serve with freshly made cornbread and a salad for the perfect New Year’s Day lunch.

If you are so inclined, tradition says to throw a dime in the pot while cooking.  The person that finds the dime in their bowl is said to have the bet luck for the year.  Personally, I prefer to cook without pocket change and take my chances.

Happy New Year!