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.

Olive Pinwheel Bread

Tube of refrigerated pizza crust

Olive oil

Rosemary (fresh or dried)

Olives

Egg

Flour

Provolone cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Chop 1/2 cup worth of olives.
  3. Cut up 1/2 cup of provolone cheese into small chunks.
  4. Unroll pizza dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Brush with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary (1 Tbsp minced fresh or 1 tsp of crushed dried), olives, and cheese. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Pinch seam to seal and tuck ends under.
  5. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Separate egg yolk from egg white.
  7. Brush bread with egg yolk. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool before cutting.

***This recipe is especially good with stuffed olives. My favorites to use are ones stuffed with blue cheese, garlic, and jalapenos.***

 

Baked Tomatoes

4 Tomatoesphoto (15)

Salt

Pepper

Brown sugar

Ritz Butter Garlic Crackers

Butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut 4 tomatoes into 1/2″ slices. Arrange in a greased baking dish.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
  5. Crush 3/4 cup worth of cracker crumbs and crumble over top of tomatoes.
  6. Dot with 4 Tbsp of butter.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes.

Fried Tomatoes – 77¢/serving

4 tomatoesphoto (14)

Salt

Lemon-pepper seasoning

Cornmeal

Vegetable oil

  1. Slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of lemon-pepper seasoning. Let stand for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Coat with 3/4 cup of cornmeal.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Fry tomatoes for 3-4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Best served immediately.

Breadcrumb Brussels – 68¢/serving

photo1.5 lbs brussels sprouts (or 500g or 6 cups) Salt Butter Breadcrumbs (plain or Italian-seasoned) Italian seasoning (if using plain breadcrumbs) Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Cut an X in the core of each brussels sprout
  3. Put in pot with salted water and cook 8-10 minutes. Drain and place in shallow ungreased baking dish.
  4. Combine 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning (if using), 1 Tbsp of melted butter, and 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese in a bowl.
  5. Drizzle brussels with 2 Tbsp of melted butter.
  6. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.
  7. Cover and bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.

 

 

 

 

Green Beans Amandine

photo 1 (6)1 lb green beans (fresh or frozen)

Slivered almonds

Butter

Lemon juice

Seasoning salt

  1. Trim ends off green beans. Cut into 2″ pieces.
  2. Bring beans and 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook 1/4 cup of slivered almonds in 2 Tbsp of butter over low heat in a large skillet. Stir in 1 tsp of lemon juice and 1/4 tsp of seasoning salt. Add beans and heat through.

Tortellini Alfredo $3.98/serving

Butter

Heavy whipping cream

Nutmeg

Parmesan cheese (shredded is best)

Package of cheese tortellini (19 oz) – I use fresh, but frozen would work too. Just make sure to follow the instructions listed.

 

  1. Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 1/8 tsp of nutmeg. Heat through but DO NOT BOIL. Stir in 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese until melted.
  2. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the cheese sauce and toss to coat. It’s better fresh – leftovers don’t taste quite as good with this one.

Dilled Zucchini

3 zucchiniphoto 1 (1)

Butter

Dill weed

Salt

Pepper

  1. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise.photo 2 (1)photo 3 (1)
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp of butter.
  3. Place zucchini in a skillet and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook about 12-14 minutes. Drain. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of dill weed, salt, and pepper.

Great side dish to chicken! 

  photo 4

 

Sautéed Mushrooms

Butter

1 lb fresh mushrooms (white or brown ones will work fine, but my grocery store sometimes offers a 1 lb package of “exotic” mushrooms and includes a little bit of portobello, oyster, shimeji, chanterelle, shiitake, cremini, etc and it’s even more delicious!)

Lemon juice

Soy sauce

  1. Slice mushrooms so all pieces are relatively the same size.
  2. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large skillet. Add mushrooms, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice,and 1 Tbsp of soy sauce. Saute for 6-8 minutes.

Sautéing is a great way to prepare mushrooms because it concentrates and accentuates the flavor. Make sure pan and butter are hot, but don’t burn it. And use a large skillet to avoid overcrowding the mushrooms. They exude a lot of moisture as they cook so if there are too many in the skillet they will steam rather than sauté. Plus, you need to be able to stir them around in the pan to avoid steaming AND burning.