Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce, Low-Fat Blue Cheese Dressing & Other Salad-Like Things

Creamy Cucumbers

Great summer recipe. If using as a side dish, cut recipe in half. 

1 cup mayo

1/4 each of cup of sugar and vinegar

1/t tsp of salt

4 cucumbers

  1. Slice cucumbers
  2. Combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Add cucumbers. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

I wouldn’t let this salad sit for more than 4 days in the fridge. As a single person, I make all the dressing on Sunday, but only slice two of the cucumbers. Then I mix the cucumbers with half the dressing in a large container and pour the remaining half of the dressing in a small container. Wednesday evening I slice the second pair of cucumbers and mix with the rest of the dressing. This recipe makes enough for me to have 6 good-sized portions for lunches and 4 smaller portions to accompany dinner.

 

Stuffed Apple

A great thing to bring to work for lunch or with you on a hike.

2 Tbsp of peanut butter

1 Tbsp of honey

1 tsp of raisins

Apple

  1. Core the apple. I don’t have an apple corer so I just use a paring knife. The tunnel needs to be a decent size.
  2. Combine peanut butter, honey, and raisins in bowl. Spoon into the center of the tunnel.
  3. Wrap in saran wrap for transport.

 

Low(er)-Fat Blue Cheese Dressing

My salad of choice for this is: assorted baby greens, grated red beets, yellow bell pepper, blueberries, blackberries, halved red grapes, walnuts, dried cherries, assorted seeds, blue cheese

1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup of fat-free plain yogurt

2 Tbsp of chopped onion

2 garlic cloves

4 Tbsp of blue cheese

  1. Mince garlic cloves.
  2. Combine cottage cheese, yogurt, onion, garlic, and 2 Tbsp of crumbled blue cheese in blender and process until smooth. Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp of blue cheese (crumbled, obviously).
  3. I also add another couple Tbsp of blue cheese to the entire salad because I love blue cheese, obviously.

 

Sugar-free Cranberry Sauce to Cranberry-Apple Salad

I wanted to make this salad for my friend who can’t have any kind of processed sugar. I originally started making this salad with store-bought canned cranberry sauce, but over the years I have learned how to make cranberry sauce at home that is WAY better (probably because my recipe entails brandy, rum, Grand Marnier, and amaretto), but it still contains sugar. This was an experimental recipe that I deemed successful! 

Bag of frozen cranberries

3/4 cup of pineapple juice (make sure it’s 100% juice and no sugar added)

1/2 cup of applesauce (again, make sure it is UNsweetened with NO sugar added)

Orange

2 apples

2 ribs of celery

1 cup of chopped walnuts

  1. Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce, and 1/2 cup of water in pot and bring to boil.
  2. Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce to a simmer. Zest the entire orange. Add zest to sauce. Cut orange in half and squeeze both halves to add juice to sauce as well. You can use a juicer if it is easier, but I don’t have one.
  4. Simmer 10 minutes and then remove from the heat.
  5. Cool completely and then store in fridge for at least 4 hours prior to mixing with remaining ingredients.
  6. Dice apples. Don’t peel them.
  7. Thinly slice celery ribs.
  8. Combine cranberry sauce, apples, and celery. Cover and refrigerate.
  9. Chop walnuts.
  10. When ready to serve, stir in walnuts.

I’m used to things being a little sweeter, so I will probably add 2-3 Tbsp of honey to the cranberry sauce next time, but that is totally optional.

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Summer Sippin’ (Dinner for Two Week 8)

Lunch: Snowball Peaches, Green Salad with Balsamic Salad Dressing, Papaya or Guava

Dinner: Hamburger Casserole or Beef Bake, Bell Pepper or Artichoke, Mint Iced Tea Cooler or Lemonade Slush

Balsamic Salad Dressing

Combine 3/4 cup of tomato juice, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, an envelope of Italian salad dressing mix, and 2 tsp of sugar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Store in the fridge.

Salad suggestion: Leaf lettuce and red cabbage with carrots, grilled asparagus, a can of drained mandarin oranges, chopped or dropped cherries, and cranberries

Snowball Peaches

Beat 2 packages of softened cream cheese and 2 Tbsp of apricot preserves in a small mixing bowl until blended. Drain a can of pineapple tidbits. Stir 1 cup of pineapple into cream cheese. Drain 3 cans of peach halves and place peaches cut side up on a lettuce-lined serving platter. Fill with cream cheese mixture. Garnish with fresh mint.

Tortilla Beef Bake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef over medium heat in a skillet. Drain. Stir in a can of cream of chicken soup. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of crushed tortilla chips in a greased shallow baking dish. Top with beef mixture, a jar of salsa and 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 more cup of crushed tortilla chips. Bake 3 minutes longer.

Hearty Hamburger Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 1 lb of ground beef over medium heat in a skillet. Drain. Stir in a can of ready-to-serve chunky vegetable soup and set aside. Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Spoon half into a greased baking dish. Top with beef mixture, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, and remaining stuffing. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes.

Mint Iced Tea Cooler

Steep 3 peppermint-flavored tea bags in 7 cups of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Pour tea into a pitcher or large bowl. Stir in 1 cup of cranberry juice and 3/4 cup of pink lemonade concentrate. Cover and refrigerate overnight (so flavors can fully blend). Serve over ice.

Lemonade Slush

Combine 1 1/2 Tbsp of partially thawed lemonade concentrate, 2 Tbsp of milk, 1 1/2 Tbsp of water, 1/8 tsp of vanilla, and a drop of yellow food coloring in a blender. Cover and process. Crush 2 ice cubes. While liquid is processing, slowly add crushed ice. Process until slushy. Serve immediately. Enough for one serving.

SHOPPING LIST:

Cheddar cheese (8 oz)

2 pkgs of cream cheese

Leaf lettuce

Red cabbage

Carrot

Asparagus

3 bell peppers

2 artichokes

 Cherries

Cranberries

3 guavas

Papaya

Fresh mint

Cranberry juice

Tomato juice

2 1/2 lbs of ground beef

2 lemonade concentrates (one pink and one yellow)

Can of ready-to-serve chunky vegetable soup (19 oz)

Can of condensed cream of chicken soup

Can of pineapple tidbits

Can of mandarin oranges

3 cans of peach halves (15 oz each)

Salsa (16 oz)

Apricot preserves

Package of instant stuffing mix (6 oz)

Peppermint-flavored tea

Italian salad dressing mix

Tortilla chips

Yellow food coloring

Balsamic vinegar

[Also needed: milk, vanilla extract, sugar]

Week 30

Shopping List:

Cranberry-apple juice (1 gallon)

46 oz can of pineapple juice

6 oz lemonade or orange juice concentrate

Can of pineapple rings or tidbits

Cranberries

Mint

Lemon-lime soda (like 7Up or Sprite)

1 lb of perch fillets (or haddock)

Pancake mix

Boneless sirloin tip roast (about 4 lbs)

2 envelopes of Italian salad dressing mix

Jar of mild pepper rings

18 hoagie buns

Zucchini

Cantaloupe

[Also needed: pepper, oil]

 

Lunch: Hoagie and a few slice of cantaloupe

Dinner: Perch, roasted zucchini with sea salt, pepper, and olive oil, rice, and a glass of juice

 

Italian Beef Hoagies

(This recipe is huge, so I recommend freezing half of it right away and then either thawing it out when you are finished eating the first half or saving it for another week when you find yourself short on food or money. Also note that this is a slow cooker recipe so it will take about 9 hours)

Place a 4 lb boneless sirloin tip roast that has been cut in half in a slow cooker. Combine 2 envelopes of Italian salad dressing mix and 2 cups of water and pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove meat and shred with a fork. This is the point where you should freeze half if you are going to. Freeze half the buns as well. Return the half you are not freezing to the slow cooker. Add half a 16 oz jar of mild pepper rings (don’t drain it) and heat through. Spoon 1/2 cup of meat mixture on a hoagie bun.

 

Perch Fillets

Pour 1 1/2 cups of lemon-lime soda in a shallow bowl. Add 1 lb of perch fillets and let stand for 15 minutes. Combine 2 cups of pancake mix and 1/4 tsp of pepper in another shallow bowl. Remove fish from soda and coat with pancake mix.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry fish for 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

 

Cranberry Quencher

Fill half your glass with cranberry-apple juice. Pour in pineapple juice until the glass is 3/4 full. Stir in a Tbsp of lemonade or orange juice concentrate. Garnish with a pineapple ring, a couple cranberries, and a couple mint leaves. Play with the juice proportions to suit your taste.

 

Week 2

Shopping List:

3-4 cups worth of raspberries. Buy a fresh flat if you can afford it, or buy one or two bags of frozen ones and then let them thaw.

2 lemons

Orange

Vegetable oil (the big one! You will use this a lot!)

Boneless sirloin steak

Can of mandarin oranges

Can of whole-berry cranberry sauce

Pkg of cream cheese

6 onion bagels (or another flavor, if you prefer)

1 lb. thinly sliced deli turkey (or 500 g)

Arugula

Grapes

Pkg of whole oats

Pkg of chia seeds

Pkg of ground flax

[Also needed: garlic, tea bags, sugar]

 

Breakfast: Whole oats with flax and chia seeds with a bit of milk and brown sugar. Super healthy (if you use the sugar in moderation of course)

Lunch: Turkey bagel, grapes, and a glass of raspberry iced tea

Dinner: Steak, arugula with ranch salad dressing, and potatoes

 

Cranberry-Orange Turkey Bagel

Drain the can of mandarin oranges and then mash them in a bowl with a fork. Stir in the cranberry sauce. Spread cream cheese on the bagel and top with some turkey and a spoonful or two of the cranberry-orange mixture. I think onion bagels are the best, but other good ones for this combo are poppy, sesame, and wheat.

 

Raspberry Iced Tea

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in 2/3 cup of sugar until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and add 5 tea bags. Steep for 5-8 minutes and then discard the tea bags. Add 4 more cups of water to dilute.

In another pot, bring 3-4 cups of raspberries and 1/4 cup of water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Strain and discard the pulp. Add raspberry juice to the tea mixture. Serve over ice.

 

Citrus Sirloin Steak

(Note: This recipe requires marinating so must be started 9 or more hours before you intend to eat it)

Cut the lemons and orange into quarters. In a skillet, cook the lemon and orange wedges in 1/2 cup of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir often. Add 1 clove (or 1 tsp) of minced garlic. Cook and stir for 1-2 more minutes. Place steak in a shallow glass baking dish. Pierce meat every inch with a fork. Pour citrus mixture over the steak and then turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, turning 3 or 4 times.

Drain and discard of the marinade. On a BBQ, covered grill, or whatever kind of grill you can come up with, cook steak for 9-10 minutes on each side over medium-hot heat or until it reaches desired doneness. I believe its a crime to cook steak well-done so the meat thermometer should read between 140 and 150 if you have one. If not, cut into the middle after the first 10 minutes and see how you’re doing! Garnish with a bit of fresh parsley if you have some leftover from last week.