Low-Fat Beef Lo Mein in Under 35 Minutes

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This recipe is as good as it looks. I developed it for Lauras Lean beef, and I recently made it for television for an Asian-themed cooking show. It is so colorful, easy and a wonderful one-dish meal. Feel free to substitute chicken, shrimp or tofu for the beef if you wish.

Steak-Fresh Herb and Tomato Crostini Appetizer

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Since summer is here, I like to cook appetizer recipes that are easy to prepare, delicious and perfect to serve while I’m grilling outside. This recipe works great using leftover steak, or if you want to serve a hearty appetizer, you can create this one on the grill while you are grilling the rest of your meal. I love the combination of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh plum tomatoes. If you don’t like blue cheese, use fresh Parmesan or feta cheese. I developed this recipe for Laura’s Lean Beef, and it would be perfect for the Fourth of July.

 

Easter Treats: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Petit Fours and Peeps

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Since spring is in the air and Easter is around the corner, I thought I would show you these awesome gift ideas. First, the combination of Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Gourmet Petits Fours include eight scrumptious California  grown strawberries dipped in dark and white chocolate and then hand striped in Spring pastel colors. The four bite size petits fours include lemon, strawberry, orange and chocolate.  Second, the hand-dipped gourmet chocolate strawberries and Spring Peeps. Each strawberry and Peep is covered in gourmet chocolate and packed with eight delicious, juicy chocolate strawberries and four darling Peeps nestled in decadent chocolate coating. See http://www.bouquetoffruits.com for more information.

Love This Lasagna Soup

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If you love lasagna, you will love this soup. All of my favorite ingredients, spinach, sausage and tomatoes and cheese, fill this soup, and it is so quick and easy. Using the mini farfalle noodles works perfect in this recipe as they truly look like mini lasagna noodles. My family was wowed by the soup. Serve with a salad and some fresh crusty bread, and dinner is on the table in no time.

 

Lasagna Soup

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

Ingredients

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups low-salt, fat-free chicken broth

1 (141/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and oregano

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cup mini farfalle pasta (piccolini) “Barilla” makes it

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups freshly grated Asiago cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil, (optional)

Preparation

1. Brown sausage in a large Dutch over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic; saute 3 minutes more.

2. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Add pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. 

3. Place 1/4 cup Asiago cheese into each bowl; pour soup on top garnish with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil, if desired.

Super Bowl Favorite-Tomato-Basil Sliders

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Okay, I am having a slightly busy week…all because of these Tomato-Basil Sliders. I am in Nashville to be on WTVF News Channel 5 “Talk of the Town” on Friday, and I will be in Birmingham on WBRC Fox 6 TV on Saturday morning preparing this recipe and a few others for Super Bowl Sunday that I will post in the coming days.


Sliders are very popular this year, and this recipe is very special. Using marinara, fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes create such a flavorful burger that you won’t even need any toppings. And, they’re low-fat, and you can substitute ground turkey or pork if you wish. Adults and kids love them, and I hope you will too! Wish me luck, Alison


Sun-Dried Tomato Sliders

These proportions also work perfectly as a meatloaf in a 71/2- x 4-inch pan.

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular is fine)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup marinara sauce

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 egg whites

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 (1-ounce) Parker House rolls

Ketchup, lettuce leaves

Preparation

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Divide dough into 8 equal portions, shaping into a 1/4-inch patty. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Place patties in a grill pan and grill 3 to 5 minutes each side or until done. Serve on cut sides of rolls and top with marinara, ketchup and lettuce, if desired.

Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Low-fat, low-calorie manicotti? Is that possible? With only 325 calories and 8.5 grams of fat, I can say, yes, that is possible. This combination of lean ground beef, fat-free ricotta, egg white and fresh herbs creates a delicious and easy manicotti recipe. I developed this recipe for Laura’s Lean Beef Company a few years ago, and it has been a family staple for a few years. Feel free to use ground turkey or pork instead of beef if you choose. Also, you can prepare it a day ahead and bake it the next day.

 

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package manicotti

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15-ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 egg white

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Preparation

1. Cook manicotti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic 5 minutes or until meat is browned; drain and let cool slightly.

3. Combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and next 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the meat mixture and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce in a lightly greased 13-x 9-inch baking dish. Fill manicotti shells with the meat mixture and arrange in a single layer in prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until sauce bubbles and is heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday Night Dinner Menu

There’s always been something about Sunday night dinners that I love. When I worked as a Food Editor at Southern Living Magazine we spent a lot of time on ideas for Sunday night dinners and even featured a monthly column devoted to “Sunday Night Suppers”. It’s actually a time where my kids don’t usually have any sports actitvites, and we can sit down all together (okay for me, maybe when it’s not baseball season). Enjoy this steak that’s really simple to prepare with only 5 ingredients. The marinade is really versatile and works well with almost any side dishes or salads.

 

Grilled London Broil

This marinade makes a flavorful London Broil. For convenience, you may make the marinade the night before. The longer you let this recipe marinate, the more time the flavors have a chance to penetrate the meat. Based on individual tastes, you can marinate meat up to 24 hours. You can fancy up this simple dish with grilled mushrooms and a wine reduction sauce. Look at our the long version recipe below.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Marinade time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 pound lean top round steak

Preparation

1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon thyme in a small bowl. Pour over steak and marinate in a zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
2. Grill steak, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until steak is desired degree of doneness, basting steak occasionally with marinade. 

Cooking Tips: Be sure to cut the meat across the grain in thin slices. Look for natural striations in the meat, which resemble lines running in the same direction (the grain). Cutting across the grain helps tenderize the meat by breaking down the meat’s natural structure. 

Grilled London Broil – Long Version

This is the expanded version of our London Broil recipe which includes grilled mushrooms and a shallot wine reduction sauce.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Marinade time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 pound lean top round steak
1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms
1 (6-ounce) package sliced Portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup red wine or fat-free, beef broth
Thyme springs (optional) 

Preparation

1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon thyme in a small bowl. Pour over steak and marinate in a zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator 1 hour.
2. Brush mushrooms with olive oil. Grill steak, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until steak is desired degree of doneness, basting steak occasionally with marinade. Grill mushrooms at same heat 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
3. Sauté shallots in a small skillet over medium heat 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine and remaining thyme and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour over steak and mushrooms and garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Laura’s Lean Beef http://laurasleanbeef.com

 

Dijon Roasted Potatoes

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

11/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Toss potatoes with olive oil and next 2 ingredients and place on a large lightly greased baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes or until tender.

3. Whisk vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Toss with potatoes before serving.

 

Sautéed Spinach with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 (5-ounce) packages fresh spinach

Vegetable cooking spray

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

Preparation

1. Add half of spinach in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes; add remaining half, salt and pepper and cook until spinach wilts. Top with goat cheese and pine nuts; serve immediately. 

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (without any cream)

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I was at the grocery store yesterday (imagine that), and Campari tomatoes were buy one, get one free (run to Publix now). It inspired me to share with you my favorite Roasted Tomato Basil Soup recipe. This is so easy to prepare and bursting with flavors. And for those of you watching your weight or don’t like creamy soups, this soup has no cream, milk or half-and-half.

 

Roasted Campari Tomato-Basil Soup

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

2 (16-ounce) containers compari tomatoes, cut in half

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 cups chopped yellow onions 

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, undrained

1 cup finely chopped fresh basil

4 cups chicken broth

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil and chicken broth. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

If you’re wondering what Campari tomatoes are, here is what they look like: 

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