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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Chow Mein (Dinner for Two Week 12)

Lunch: Pasta salad, Pear or Rhubarb, Peanut butter popcorn bars

Dinner: Chicken and broccoli chow mein or Turkey and stuffing pie, Cooler

 

Tricolor Pasta Salad                              I usually double this one and sometimes add chickpeas

Cook a package of tricolor spiral pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, place a package of frozen California-blend vegetables in a glass dish. Cover and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Drain. Drain pasta and rinse in cold water.

Combine the pasta, vegetables, and a drained can of sliced ripe olives in a bowl. [Add chickpeas if using them.] Combine 1 – 1 1/3 cups of Italian salad dressing and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of garlic salt. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving. 

 

Turkey and Stuffing Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using raw turkey, cook 2 cups worth. If using deli, cube 2 cups worth. If using leftovers, shred 2 cups worth. Prepare 3 cups worth of stuffing (or use leftovers). Press stuffing onto the bottom and up the sides of a well-greased pie plate. Top with turkey and 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese. Beat 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk. Pour over cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. 

 

Chicken and Broccoli Chow Mein

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and cube 2 chicken breasts. Chop up broccoli. Combine a can of cream of chicken soup, a can of chicken with rice soup, and a can of evaporated milk in a bowl. Stir in chicken and broccoli. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle with chow mein noodles. Bake 5-10 minutes. 

 

Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars

Pop 3 bags of popcorn. Place in a large bowl. Set aside. Bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of light corn syrup to a boil in a pot over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. 

Stir in 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix well. Pour over popcorn and mix under well coated. Press into a buttered pan. Cool slightly before cutting. 

 

Sunny Citrus Cooler

Combine a can of pineapple juice, 2 cans of thawed orange juice concentrate, and 3/4 cup of lemonade concentrate in a pitcher. Add 6 cups of ginger ale or white soda and mix well. Serve over ice. Garnish with orange slices. Refrigerate leftovers. 

 

SHOPPING LIST:

Swiss cheese

Eggs

Orange

6 pears

Rhubarb

Broccoli

Brussel sprouts

Celery

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Turkey (Leftovers, deli, or cook enough to get 2 cups worth)

2 pkgs of frozen California-blend vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots) [16 oz ea]

2 cans of frozen orange juice concentrate

Lemonade concentrate

Can of pineapple juice (46 oz)

Can of condensed cream of chicken soup

Can of condensed chicken with rice soup

Can of evaporated milk

Can of chow mein noodles

Can of chickpeas

2 cans of sliced ripe olives

Ginger ale or white soda

Light corn syrup

Popcorn

Stuffing

2 pkgs of tricolor spiral pasta (16 oz ea)

Whole-rolled oats

Chia seeds

Raw sliced almonds

Sunflower seeds

Garlic salt

[Also needed: sugar, vanilla, creamy peanut butter, milk, Italian salad dressing]

Don’t be Corn-fused (Dinner for Two Week 9)

Lunch: Chicken salad, Cherry salad, Cheerio’ square, Amazeing mix, Grapefruit

Dinner: Breaded ranch chicken or Tuna delight, Rice or Noodles, Arugula or Asparagus

After Thanksgiving Salad 

Note: It’s called After Thanksgiving Salad because the original recipe calls for leftover turkey. If you have some, or would prefer to buy turkey breasts instead, go for it, but since chicken is an easy, cheap substitute, I used it instead.

Cook and shred 4 chicken breasts. Meanwhile, hard boil an egg. When finished, peel and mash the egg with a fork in a bowl. Add shredded chicken, 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, and 1 Tbsp of sweet pickle relish. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans just before serving.

Frozen Cherry Salad

Combine a softened package of cream cheese and a thawed carton of whipped topping in a mixing bowl. Stir in a can of cherry pie filling. Drain 2 cans of mandarin oranges. Set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Fold remaining oranges into cream cheese mixture. Transfer to a loaf pan. Cover and freeze overnight.

Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. Garnish with reserved mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, and orange wedges.

Tuna Delight

Combine 1 3/4 cups of thawed mixed vegetables, a can of drained and flaked tuna, and a can of cream of chicken or celery soup in a large pot. Cook and stir until heated through. Serve over rice or noodles.

Breaded Ranch Chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 3/4 cup of crushed Cornflakes, 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, and an envelope of ranch salad dressing mix in a shallow bowl. Dip 8 chicken breasts in 1/2 cup of melted butter, then roll in cornflake mixture to coat.

Place in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

A-maze-ing Mix

Combine 3 bags of popped popcorn, a box of Corn Pops, and a package of corn chips in several large bowls. Melt 2 packages of vanilla or white chocolate chips in a pot over medium-low heat. Stir until smooth. Pour over popcorn mixture and toss to coat. Spread in two pans. Cool. Store in airtight containers.

Cheerio’ Squares

Place 3 Tbsp of butter and a package of mini marshmallows in a large glass bowl. Microwave, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of peanut butter until blended. Add 5 cups of Cheerios and 1 cup of plain M&Ms. Mix well. Spoon into a greased pan. Press down gently. Cool slightly before cutting.

SHOPPING LIST:

Cream cheese

Parmesan cheese

Eggs

Orange

Arugula

Asparagus

14 grapefruits

12 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Frozen whipped topping

Frozen mixed vegetables

Can of tuna (12 oz)

Can of condensed cream of chicken or celery soup

Can of cherry pie filling (21 oz)

2 cans of mandarin oranges

Jar of maraschino cherries

Sweet pickle relish

Peanut butter

Pkg of mini marshmallows (10.5 oz)

2 pkgs of vanilla or white chips (10-12 oz each)

Ranch salad dressing mix

Crushed cornflakes

Cheerios

Corn pops

Popcorn

Corn chips

Pecans

Rice

Noodles

Baking soda

Canola oil

[Also needed: butter, M&Ms, mayonnaise]

Week 49

Shopping List:

Lemonade concentrate

Orange juice concentrate

Lasagna noodles

2 lbs ground beef

28 oz jar of spaghetti sauce

1 lb process cheese (like Velveeta)

Peanut butter

Orange marmalade

Sharp cheddar cheese

Bread

Black currants (If you can’t find fresh ones, buy dried and add them to salads. So good!)

Red potatoes

Package of doughnuts

Can of garbanzo beans (19 oz)

Icing sugar (aka confectioners sugar)

[Also needed: 6 tea bags, sugar, lemon juice]

 

Breakfast: Hashbrowns

Lunch: Sandwich, black currants, and Tiger Tea

Dinner: Lasagna

Dessert: Doughnut

 

Nutty Marmalade Sandwiches

Combine 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of orange marmalade, 1/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and 2 tsp of lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix well. Spread 1/3 of mixture over a slice of bread. Top with another slice.

[Note: This can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 4 months. Take out of freezer 4 hours before eating]

 

Lazy Poor Man’s Lasagna

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 16 lasagna noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook 2 lbs of ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain. Add a jar of spaghetti sauce. Heat through. Rinse and drain the noodles. Cut 1 lb of process cheese into cubes.

In a greased baking dish, layer a third of the meat sauce and half of the noodles and cheese. Repeat the layers. Top with remaining meat sauce. Cover and bake for 35 minutes.

 

Tiger Tea

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a large kettle. Remove from the heat. Add 6 tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags.

Stir in 3/4 cup of lemonade concentrate, 3/4 cup of orange juice concentrate, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 quarts of water. Serve over ice.

Week 27

Shopping List:

30 caramels

Creamy peanut butter

Peanuts

5 apples

Envelope of brown gravy mix

Jar of sliced mushrooms

Horseradish

4 beef tenderloin fillets (5 oz each)

2 bagels

1 or 2 tomatoes, depending on size

Bacon

4 oz mozzarella cheese

Ranch salad dressing

Spinach

Strawberries

[Also needed: pepper]

 

Lunch: Bacon-tomato bagel, peanut-caramel dip with slices of apple, and a couple strawberries

Dinner: Beef fillets, potatoes, and spinach/strawberry salad

 

Bacon-Tomato Bagel Melts

Split bagel in half and toast half of it. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. Top with 2 slices of tomato and two stips of cooked bacon. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil 5″ from the heat for 1-2 minutes. Serve with ranch dressing.

 

Festive Fillets

Prepare an envelope of brown gravy mix according to package directions. Add a jar of drained sliced mushrooms and 2 tsp of horseradish. Set aside and keep warm. Cook fillets over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet, turning once. Season with 1/8 tsp of pepper. Serve with the gravy.

 

Caramel Peanut Butter Dip

Unwrap 30 caramels. Microwave caramels and 3 Tbsp of water in a glass bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave one more minute. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of peanut butter and mix well. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in 1/4 cup of finely crushed peanuts. Eat warm with sliced apples.