Monday, July 29, 2013

Bolognese Meat Sauce

Makes 3 cups
Preparation 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped carrot
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 slice bacon, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
360 g ground beef, lean or medium-lean
1/3 cup milk, 2%
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the vegetables and bacon, then cook until softened, 5-6 minutes, with some stirring.  Add the meat, then salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat with a spoon until it loses its pink colour and starts browning, about 7-8 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, then add the milk.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add the wine, then cook, stirring frequently, until the wine has evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano, then cover and simmer gently over low heat for at least 1 hour.  Stir occasionally and add some water as needed to prevent the sauce from becoming too dry.  Season with additional salt and pepper.  It is important to simmer all the ingredients until the sauce is think and the beef very tender.

Lasagna Bolognese (Light)

4 servings
Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking 30 minutes
Standing 5 minutes
480 calories per serving
Cooking dish:  19 cm x 19 cm

3-1/2 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
7 tbsp white all purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk, lukewarm
salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pinch grated nutmeg
10 over-ready type lasagna noodles
1-1/2 cups Bolognese Meat Sauce

Make the bechamel:

Heat the margarine in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then add the flour and cook the roux over low heat, with whisking, for 3 minutes.  Add the milk in a fast stream while whisking vigorously to avoid lumps.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 6-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add all the grated Parmesan minus about 3 spoonfuls.  Stir in the grated nutmeg.

Assemble the lasagna:

If desired, you may precook the lasagna noodles.  Working in batches, plunge 3-4 noodles at a time in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Add one spoonful of olive oil to the water to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.  Do not cook the noodles through, but just until a bit soft, about 2-3 minutes, then drain them, pat dry and place them in one layer on a kitchen towel.

Spread a few spoonfuls of bechamel sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.  Arrange some lasagna noodles over the sauce, without overlapping them (allow room for swelling during cooking), until the bottom of the dish is covered.  Spread some spoonfuls of bechamel and bolognese meat sauce over the noodles, then cover with another layer of noodles.  Repeat the layering of sauce and noodles 4 to 6 times, depending on the serving size and the shape of the baking dish.  Top the lasagna with the reserved Parmesan.


Preheat the over to 400F.  Bake the lasagna, uncovered, until the top is golden-brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 30-35 minutes (or about 20-25 minutes if the noodles have bee precooked).  Let stand 5-10 minutes at room temperature before cutting and serving.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lentil and Tomato Salad with Mint


2 servings
Preparation 15 minutes
220 calories per serving

2 tomatoes, Roma type, deseeded and diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1-1/2 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette
1 cup lentils (canned), rinsed and drained
salt and ground pepper to taste

Dice the tomatoes, discarding the seeds (I left them in), then put them in a salad bowl.  Coarsely chop the celery, finely chop the shallot and mint, then add them to the bowl.  Pour the Classic Vinaigrette over the salad (I used Italian dressing).

Rinse and drain the lentils, then add them to the salad.  Toss well, adjusting the seasoning then serve.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chicken Legs with Vegetables

2 servings
Preparation 10 miutes
Cooking 35 minutes
280 calories per serving

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, cut into 3-4 mm thick rounds
4 button (white) mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp canola oil
4 chicken drumsticks, skinless
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp herbes de Provence
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

Prepare the vegetables:  finely chop the onion, slice the carrots, cut the mushrooms.  Soak the raisins in a small cup of lukewarm water.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the chicken drumsticks and saute thoroughly on each side until golden, about 7-8 minutes.  Take the chicken pieces out of the pan then set them aside on a warmed serving plate in the oven.

Add the onion to the pan, then saute 2-3 minutes.  Add the carrots and mushrooms then cook 2-3 minutes.  Add the raisins and broth.  Scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly as the liquid comes to a boil.

Put the chicken back into the pan, then add the diced tomatoes and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover, then simmer 20-25 minutes until the chicken is tender.  Serve.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rhapsody in Blueberry

Eat, Shrink & Be Merry cookbook

The next time will be tried with strawberries.


6 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest (I cut down to 1 since I was using dried)


1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup all purpose floour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp apple juice or orange juice

1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt, light whipped topping


1) Preheat oven to 375F. Spray 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add blueberries. Sprinkle blueberries with granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well and set aside.

2) To make topping, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and juice. Using a fork, stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over coated blueberries.

3) Bake for 30mins, until blueberries are bubbling around edge of pan and crumb topping is golden brown. Cool for 10mins before serving. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or whipped topping. Also tasty with small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.

Red, White and Yahoo!

Eat, Shrink & Be Merry cookbook

We teamed this one up with the 'Lord of the Wings' recipe. It is quick, easy and a great recipe for picnics.


1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved  (we quartered them)*
1 cup mini fresh mozzarella balls, halved (4oz)**
1/3 cup minced red onions***
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt (we cut it down to 1/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


1) Place ingredients in a large bowl in the order listed and mix well. May be served immediately or salad can stand at room temp for up to an hour before serving. Since tomatoes tend to lose their flavor when refrigerated, add them last minute if you prepare salad in advance.

*-  With the tomatoes we ended up quartering them and then added to our own little amounts on the plate. Made it easier to manage the amount going in and so they weren't soggy.

**- Mum was unable to locate the mozzarella balls so she bought a large ball of the cheese and I ended up tearing it up into small pieces. Next time we are going to try shredding the mozzarella since the fresh stuff can be a little costly.

***- So not to over power the taste, we cut down the recipe to 1/4 cup of minced red onions.

Lord of the Wings

Eat Shrink & Be Merry cookbook

Yes, this is another one and I have to say, they are yummy. This can work either as a meal or appetizers.


12 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2.5lbs. You can also switch it up, we ended up using chicken legs)
1/3 cup favorite barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp liquid honey (we used one because we used honey Dijon mustard. The cookbook states that if the bbq sauce or anything else is sweet, to cut down to one so it doesn't overpower.)
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
4-5 dashes hot pepper sauce (optional so we didn't bother)
1 tsp cornstarch


1) Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside

2) Trim any visible fat from chicken thighs. Cut each thigh in half and place cut pieces in a single layer in prepared baking pan. Fold or roll them up a bit so they resemble the shape of a chicken wing. They should just fit in pan (3 rows of 8 "wings").

3) Whisk together barbecue sauce, soy sauce, mustard, honey, lemon juice, garlic, chili powder and hot pepper sauce (if using) in a small bowl. Spoon sauce evenly over chicken pieces.

4) Bake, uncovered for 35-40mins until chicken is cooked through and sauce is bubbly. Arrange chicken on a serving platter and keep warm. Pour sauce from pan into a small pot. Combine cornstarch with 2 tsp water and mix until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into sauce. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly until mixture has thickened (it won't take long). Serve "wings" with extra sauce for dipping.