Easy Low-Fat Appetizer: Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

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This is one of my all-time favorite dips, and it’s low in fat and so high in flavor! I have made this numerous times for parties and showers, but I brought it up to the baseball field for my son’s 5:30 game, and everyone went nuts over it. I like to use rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes that are already chopped. These are less fat since they’re not packed in oil, and they can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. This recipe is so quick, light, simple and delicious. What else can you ask for?

Dinner Tonight: Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

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Using a rotisserie chicken is a life-saver for so many wonderful quick dinner recipes. I created this recipe since my 3 kids love Caesar Salads, and sometimes a delicious sandwich and a salad or side is all they want for dinner. The simple mixture of low-fat mayonnaise, garlic, fresh parsley, lemon juice and Parmesan create an incredibly flavorful spread for these sandwiches. In twenty minutes, dinner can be done, but this recipe is also great to serve for lunch on the weekends.

 

Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Prep: 20 minutes

 Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

11/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups thinly sliced, cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1 (16-ounce) loaf Ciabatta bread (or French or Italian bread)

Romaine lettuce leaves

Tomatoes, purple onion (optional)

Preparation

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over cut sides of bread. Top evenly with chicken and lettuce; serve immediately. Top with tomatoes and purple onion, if desired.

Easy Low-Fat Appetizer: Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

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This is one of my all-time favorite dips, and it’s low in fat and so high in flavor! I have made this numerous times for parties and showers, but I brought it up to the baseball field for my son’s 5:30 game, and everyone went nuts over it. I like to use rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes that are already chopped. These are less fat since they’re not packed in oil, and they can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. This recipe is so quick, light, simple and delicious. What else can you ask for?

Easy and Delicious White Chili

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My friend and loyal fan, Dawn, asked me a while back for a recipe for White Chili. I promised her I would work on one, and this recipe came out great. It’s simple to prepare-just requiring some chopping, vegetables and grating cheese, and that’s the only work involved. Feel free to use already-shredded cheese if your short on time, and I used a rotisserie chicken to speed up the process. This chili has just the right consistency and spice. Even my 8-year-old was asking for seconds.


White Bean Chili

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 medium onion, diced

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

2 cloves garlic, minced

11/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

31/2 cups low-salt, fat-free chicken broth

2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1 cup freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup freshly grated Colby cheese

Toppings: crushed corn chips, light sour cream, chopped green onions, olives, chopped tomatoes, oyster crackers, bacon

Preparation

1. Cook onion in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring until tender. Add green chiles and next 4 ingredients; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce
heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add chicken, 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack and 1/2 cup Colby cheese; simmer 10 minutes more. Ladle chili into individual bowls. Top each serving evenly with cheese and desired toppings.

Fans of Ingredients, Inc.

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Who would have thought it? https://www.ingredientsinc.net has a fan club on facebook! I really appreciate it, and I am amazed that in just a few weeks over 420 people have joined from all over the U.S, Australia and the Phillipines! I have been receiving so many phone calls and emails from friends and new friends about my blog.


It’s really funny. I started the blog because I had so many recipes in my files that I developed over the past 10 years, and I thought, why not share them with others? I’m also in the kitchen all of the time cooking for 3 kids, and I thought I could help others in a hurry get healthy food on the table fast. And, I hoped working on the blog would increase my photography skills, prop styling skills, food styling and writing skills. I just never imagined that I would have such a great response and that I would, or could, have created 9 television tapes in 2 months because of it. I have to admit…it’s hard work and very time-consuming. Ask any of my family members….I hope I can continue to create great content and to get the great response that you have given me.


Thanks again to the “fans”, and if you’re on facebook, I hope you will take a moment to join the club on facebook and subscribe to receive daily e-mails in the upper right hand side on my blog.  Please continue to pass the blog along to your friends and family members. Best, Alison

Light and Simple Seared Scallops with Mint Pesto

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So many friends tell me that they are intimidated to cook scallops. Really, they are so incredibly easy! They cook in no time at all in a saute pan or on the grill, and really, the only thing you need is some kosher salt, black or red pepper and a touch of olive oil. I love making scallops because they are so simple, so delicious, yet almost elegant for a weeknight supper. They are fabulous mixed with pasta, in a salad and especially just on their own. We eat them often at my house, and even my 8-year-old, Zachary, is a huge fan! The Mint Pesto is so versatile and can also be served with fish, steak, chicken or pork.


Seared Scallops with Fresh Mint Pesto 

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 6 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2/3 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup almonds, toasted

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

4 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

2 teaspoons olive oil

11/2 pounds large sea scallops

Cooking spray

Watercress, mixed greens (optional)

Preparation

1. Process mint, parsley, garlic, almonds, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and olive oil in a container of a food processor until smooth. Remove and set aside.

2. Drizzle scallops with remaining lemon juice and season with remaining kosher salt and pepper.

3. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done. Top scallops with Mint Pesto and serve over watercress or mixed greens, if desired.

Super Bowl Party Appetizers: Low-Fat Basil Dip

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For a Super Bowl Party, how about this light, fresh, healthy dip made with fresh basil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic. I posted this on the blog a while back, but since I featured it on television this weekend on WBRC Fox 6 News, I thought I would offer it again. Serve it with fresh vegetables for a pretty presentation, and you can feel great about digging in.

 

Also, if you want to watch the video from television in Birmingham yesterday click http://www.myfoxal.com/myfox/pages/InsideFox/Detail?contentId=8332912&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=5.2.1


Fresh Basil Dip  

This dip is also great served alongside cooked salmon, shrimp or scallops.

Prep: 15 minutes

Yield about 1 1/2 cups 

Ingredients

1 clove garlic 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup light mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Fresh Vegetables, crackers

Preparation

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic and next 7 ingredients: process until smooth. 

2. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh vegetables and/or crackers.

Light and Delicious Spiced Nuts for Super Bowl Sunday

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I had so much fun on “Talk of the Town” yesterday in Nashville. I thank my Nashville friends, Lisa and Rob, News Channel 5 and all of the Nashville subscribers and facebook fans for tuning in to watch me. One of the recipes I shared was this Spiced Nuts mix which I posted before Thanksgiving. It was very popular and is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday. It’s a lower-fat nut recipe and is ideal for a Super Bowl Party, holidays, or you can enjoy them as a snack or also tossed in a salad. Feel free to use any type of nuts that you want. These are worth every bite, and there’s no oil or butter in the recipe.

 

Spiced Almonds and Pecans 

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Yield: 41/2 cups

Ingredients

2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves

1  (6 ounce) can whole natural almonds

1/3  cup  packed brown sugar

11/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin

2  large egg whites, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites. Spread mixture evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Stir mixture; bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Transfer foil to a wire rack; cool almond mixture. Break almond mixture into small pieces.

Note: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Chicken and Broccoli Sourdough Cobbler

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When I told a friend of mine about this recipe, she said, “Chicken Cobbler? Don’t you mean, chicken casserole?” I said, “No, this recipe is much cooler than that!” First, the topping is made with crisp sourdough croutons that are laced with Parmesan cheese and add the perfect toasty crunch. Second it’s filled with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and a short-cut sauce, low-fat alfredo. Using chopped rotisserie chicken works great in this recipe (you can also use leftover turkey). Last, purchase bagged broccoli flowerets from the grocery produce section to make your life even easier, and there’s no need to pre-cook them. Try it and let me know what you think and whether it’s deserving of it’s special name.


Chicken and Broccoli Cobbler

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

3 cups cubed sourdough bread

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups broccoli flowerets

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 (10-ounce) container light refrigerated Alfredo sauce

1/2 cup light sour cream

Preparation

1. Drizzle butter over bread cubes in a large bowl; sprinkle with cheese, tossing gently.

2. Combine broccoli and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon filling into lightly greased 2-quart rectangle or oval baking dishes or individual baking dishes; top with bread cubes.

3. Bake uncovered, at 400F for 25 to 30 minute (20 to 25 for individual cobblers) or until bubbly and top is toasted. (Cover, if it starts to brown too fast.)

Appetizers-Hummus for Thanksgiving

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My family prepares an array of appetizers for Thanksgiving, but one that’s not very traditional, yet stays on our menu is this Hummus Dip Recipe. It’s so delicious with fresh vegetables, toasted pita or pita chips, and it gives us a light note to start off the Thanksgiving meal. What I really like about serving this type of appetizer is that my kids love it and eat it, and I feel like they are getting something truly healthy. Enjoy it anytime of the year, but why not start now.

 

Hummus Dip

Prep: 10 minutes

Yield: about 3 cups

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas

4 dashes hot sauce

Cayenne pepper, paprika and olive oil (optional)

Directions

1. Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature topped with cayenne, paprika and olive oil, if desired.