Saturday, July 28, 2012

Easy Meals - Creamy Chicken Green Bean Casserole - Gluten-Free Option

Having to be careful when preparing gluten free meals, makes it difficult to make easy or quick meals.  Finally, I am confortable in doing both.  I can always check the fridge, freezer or pantry and put together a meal!

The issue that arises most for me is the calories and carbs! The metabolism takes a nap once one is over 50, so I plan when even buying food! It was so easy to lose as quickly as I gained in my 30s, but no more!

At one time, I hated canned or frozen vegetables, now I love those unseasoned microwavable frozen mixed vegetables, green beans, and peas.  I prefer some vegetables fresh, but I will blanch and freeze them. I even like plain canned beans now.

There are so many things to do with canned beans other than just heating and eating. I have even experimented with dips & spreads and desserts!

This day, I had a half-bag julienne cut carrots in the vegetable bin and no left-overs.   First thought was grab chips, then I realized that I would save those calories for a cookie instead!
This meal came together so fast, even I was surprised!


Creamy Chicken Green Bean Casserole

Creamy Chicken Green Bean Casserole


1 12-ounce bag  frozen cut green beans
4 oz. carrots, julienne cut
1 large  orange pepper
16 oz. chicken breast, baked, seasoned, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil, to sauté pepper
1 cup Alfredo Sauce(used Bertolli - 4 Cheese)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tbsp basil, fresh, chopped (about 3 leaves)
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt-free herb seasoning
1 tsp ginger, (squeeze tube) or fresh grated

Topping (optional):
1/2 cup croutons1, seasoned, crushed


Microwave green beans 5 minutes.
Microwave carrots 4 minutes
Pace oil in skillet, heat and sauté pepper about 2 minutes, stir in seasonings.
Add green beans and carrots, stir and cook about 5 minutes. 

Creamy Chicken Green Bean Casserole - carrots

Creamy Chicken Green Bean Casserole - green beans & peppers

Add chicken breast, stir.
Stir in Alfredo sauce and water.
Preheat  oven to 375F.
Transfer to an oiled casserole dish.  Sprinkle crushed croutons over top

Creamy Chicken Green Bean Casserole - ready for oven

Cover with Aluminum foil.
Bake 30 minutes, covered and 10 minutes uncovered. Serve immediately

Creamy Chicken Green Bean Casserole

Servings: 6
Nutrition (per serving): 286 calories, 13.3g total fat, 3.1g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, <1g linoleic acid, 5.1g saturated fat, 92mg cholesterol, 386mg sodium, 107.8mg calcium, 461mg potassium, 27.8mcg folate, 233mg phosphorus, 5.5mg phytosterols, <1mcg lycopene, 21.4mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 66.5mg vitamin c, 0IU vitamin d, 1.1mg zinc, 15.6g carbohydrates, 3.1g fiber, 12.5g net carbohydrates, 2.1g sugar, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, 0g lactose, <1g maltose, <1g sucrose, 0mg stigmasterol, 27.1g protein.

  • If more creaminess is preferred, use more sauce, of course the calories will increase. Store any unused sauce in refrigerator.
  • Rotisserie chicken can be substituted for chicken breast
  • Bread crumbs can be substituted for croutons, but the flavor will not be the same.  Toast them first.

1Actually, used three biscuits to make croutons.   King Arthur Flour had a recipe for Easy Self-Rising Biscuits, which tempted me to make biscuits….  Of course, I used a whole grain mix, adding Hi-maize fiber.

Well, I didn’t want to eat a biscuit for the next five days, so decided to just make croutons, instead of buying them.  The croutons came out perfect!


KAF Self-rising Biscuits

Croutons - from Biscuits

Croutons - using Biscuits

© 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

When it’s hot outside…it’s cold inside - Chocolate Raspberry Strawberry frozen Treat

It has been really hot the past two weeks or raining. Of course when it’s hot, all I think about is something COLD!  So it’s been frozen smoothies each morning.  I’ve even thought about making one for lunch or dinner, but decided I needed to eat some food.

Today I was seriously thinking of making ice cream, but just didn’t want to spend lots of time making too much.   So I pulled out strawberries, raspberries and half a banana and my favorite immersion blender.

With a few whirrs and a little of this and that plus a little sweetener, it was tasty.   So into the freezer it went to ‘firm’ up.

I am one for making easy, simple and quick food.   The older I get, the simpler and quicker it gets!
Feel free to use all strawberries or other berries for this treat,


Chocolate Raspberry Strawberry Frozen Treat


    1 cup frozen raspberries
    1 cup frozen strawberries, sliced
    1/2 banana, frozen
    1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
    5 pkts Pure Via Stevia sweetener (or about 3 tbsp other sweetener)
    2 tbsp cocoa (used Ghirardelli)
    1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

    Final Step Ingredients
    1 cup whipped cream
    1/4 cup chopped almonds
    2 tbsp frozen strawberries, chopped
1.    Using a blender, blend until all is smooth and fluffy.
2.    If using a stick blender, cut the banana into slices.  Stir as necessary and push down.
3.    Fold in the whipped cream, strawberries and chopped nuts.
4.    Place in freezer for at least an hour. Scoop into parfait glasses.

Servings: 4

Nutrition (per serving): 145 calories, 9g total fat, 3.9g monounsaturated fat, 1.4g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, <1g trans-monoenoic fatty acids, <1g trans-polyenoic fatty acids, 1.1g linoleic acid, 2.9g saturated fat, 11.4mg cholesterol, 32.2mg sodium, 58.1mg calcium, 307.2mg potassium, 22.8mcg folate, 96.5mg phosphorus, 2.4mg phytosterols, 0mcg lycopene, 1.4mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 27.5mg vitamin c, <1mg zinc, 16.9g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 12g net carbohydrates, 6.9g sugar, 2.4g fructose, <1g galactose, 2.2g glucose, 0g lactose, <1g maltose, <1g sucrose, <1mg stigmasterol, 3.7g protein, 6.9mg caffeine, 40% calories from carbohydrates, 52% calories from fat, 8% calories from protein.

Slightly different lighting

I am enjoying those #Driscoll’s Berries.   I never really liked raspberries, but have acquired a new taste for them.

© 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Frozen Berry Smoothies with Driscoll's Berries

First, I must say I buy blueberries and strawberries in warehouse sizes, freeze them during ‘in season’ times. Costco sells the very large container of the Driscoll’s berries, so I am stocked when fall and winter rolls around.

I enjoy lots of frozen smoothies during the warm months. No matter the season, my smoothie is always frozen!

I have done several recipe and blog posts on the many ways of incorporating vegetables and fruits into a frozen meal.  This will be the first time making a frozen smoothie using raspberries!  Thanks to Danielle  at The Baddish Group for the Driscolls  coupons!

Since I really like ginger, decided to make this smoothie from Driscoll’s site: Ginger Raspberry and Strawberry Smoothie
View it on YouTube: Ginger Raspberry and Strawberry Smoothie
More of their recipes can be seen their website: and  YouTube.

The ginger flavor was mild as were the other flavors.  Neither flavor overwhelmed the others.  It was delicious and refreshing.

My version

Ginger Raspberry and Strawberry Smoothie

Ginger Raspberry and Strawberry Smoothie - where's the spoon


1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup 0% Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger(or thinly sliced)
1 pkg. stevia sweetener( or 1 tbsp honey)
1 cup Driscoll's Strawberries, sliced, frozen
1/2 cup Driscoll's Raspberries, frozen


1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until pureed and smooth, stirring several times. Serve immediately.

Servings: 1

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 160 calories, 1.8g total fat, <1g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, <1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 90.5mg sodium, 42.8mg calcium, 409.2mg potassium, 50.5mcg folate, 58.3mg phosphorus, 20.5mg phytosterols, 0mcg lycopene, 1.8mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, 0mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 105.7mg vitamin c, <1mg zinc, 26g carbohydrates, 7.6g fiber, 18.4g net carbohydrates, 14.8g sugar, 5.2g fructose, <1g galactose, 4.2g glucose, 0g lactose, 0g maltose, <1g sucrose, 12.3g protein, 0mg caffeine, 60% calories from carbohydrates, 10% calories from fat, 31% calories from protein.

Freezing Berries

To freeze berries, stem, gently wash and drain.  They can also be left on paper towels on a large baking sheet on counter overnight to dry, if the area is below 75 degrees.
Prepare berries, cover a baking sheet with cellophane wrap.  Place each berry top down, not touching.  Cover baking sheet with cellophane.  Place in freezer until frozen, usually overnight.   Remove, using wrap, quickly lift berries and pour into a zipper bag or freezer container.  Return to freezer until ready for use.

Driscoll's Raspberries - frozen

Driscoll's Raspberries - ready for freezer


Driscoll's Raspberried - frozen

Driscoll's Raspberries - frozen close-up

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Easy Meals - No Crust Eggplant Portabella "Pizza"

Easy, quick, reduced carbs/sodium/sugar and gluten-free are the requirements I work with when planning meals. Not saying I want it to taste like cardboard either!

I like to cook, but I don’t really like to cook. How I like to cook is have somewhat of a plan of making a meal with ingredients I have decided to eat.

I am always craving pizza, but just can’t see myself eating lots of carb loaded pizza crust now.  Maybe I could do that when I was a twenty-something, but not now. My metabolism has changed over the past two years quite a bit. So to keep enjoying ‘treats’, I have to re-formulate them.  I have a little fun sometimes just pulling out the mixer, cocoa or chocolate and saying “I’m making brownies or a cake”.

For some reason, whenever I am in the grocery store, I look at the eggplant and portabellas. If I see a good looking eggplant, I will buy one. Then It goes in the vegetable bin. Then I have to decide what to do with it.  Most of the time, it’s grilled or sautéed and served on the side.  I am sort of worn out adding it to baked pasta, so I was planning on just making Eggplant Parmigianino.  As I began to think about it, and how complicated it would be…., so thought why not just add pizza ingredients and layer it so it would hold together like pizza?

Well it works and it is delicious! 

No Crust Eggplant Portabella  "Pizza"

Crustless Eggplant Portabella Deep Dish Pizza - Display

  • 2 large unpeeled eggplant, sliced 1-inch rounds
  • 4 large Portabella caps, grilled or sautéed, julienne cut
  • 3 large basil leaves, broken into 2 inch pieces (or 2 tbsp dried)
  • 1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced in rings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sodium-free Herb and Onion mix (Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 2 oz Swiss cheese, sliced, julienne cut
  • 2 oz Colby Jack cheese, sliced julienne cut
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded (real refrigerated cheese)
  • 6 to 8 large cherry tomatoes, halves
  • Spread the olive oil over a 13-inch casserole baking dish or deep rimmed baking pan.
  • Spread eggplant to cover the bottom. there will be little spaces in between… that’s ok
  • Spread the grated Parmesan cheese over the eggplant.
  • Scatter half of portabella strips over the eggplant. Spread remaining eggplant on dish. Place remaining portabella strips. Separate onion rings and scatter over top.
  • Place julienned cheese strips over dish.
  • Space the halved tomatoes over the dish.
  • Sprinkle spices over dish. Scatter the basil over the dish
  • Carefully pour the water along the sides of the dish. Gently tilt the dish side to side to spread water over bottom of dish. It will evaporate thru cooking and reduce the amount of oil needed to cook eggplant.

Crustless Eggplant Portabella Deep Dish Pizza - oven ready

  • Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove cover, bake about additional 20 minutes until cheese begins to brown.
  • Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan cheese evenly over the dish.
  • Return to oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  • Remove from oven; allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Using a hard rubber spatula, go around the dish freeing any sides that may be sticking to the dish. 
  •  Carefully cut into 6 pieces.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.

Crustless Eggplant Portabella Deep Dish Pizza - serving
Servings: 6

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 194 calories, 13.1g total fat, 5.6g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, 5.7g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 211.9mg sodium, 247mg calcium, 512.3mg potassium, 35.2mcg folate, 242.4mg phosphorus, 16.7mg phytosterols, 0mcg lycopene, 12.2mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 9.2mg vitamin c, 4.2IU vitamin d, 1.5mg zinc, 10.2g carbohydrates, 4.1g fiber, 6.2g net carbohydrates, 2.6g sugar, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, <1g lactose, <1g maltose, <1g sucrose, 11g protein.

Add any other toppings like red or green peppers or pepperoni

© 2012