Monday, May 30, 2011

Low-Point Flourless Black Bean Brownies

I'm finding there are more and more people out there who are looking for dessert recipes that do not include flour. Although this recipe might make you wrinkle your nose and question the taste, it's one of those recipes where the "proof is in the pudding" (or brownie).

Low-Point Flourless Black Bean Brownie
- 1, 15.5 oz. can of black beans (thoroughly rinsed and drained)
- 1 tsp. coffee grounds
- 1 cup Splenda granulated sugar substitute
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tbs canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Betty Crocker whipped milk chocolate frosting (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combine Splenda, cocoa, salt, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Place black beans and coffee in a food processor and pulse thoroughly until smooth. Add to the brownie mixture and combine well. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (or until desired doneness). Let cool and add 1 tsp. frosting to each piece. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here. (We really enjoy these brownies but even moreso with the icing on top). :)
Total servings - 12
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 1.7 without icing; 2 points with icing

"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart." - Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Low-Point Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Legs

There's just some things you can pair together and bake that turn out magnificent! Chicken and bacon are one of them! This simple and flavorful recipe with seasoned chicken legs, wrapped with a piece of bacon, and baked to perfection make this recipe one to add to your list of favorites.

Low-Point Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Legs
- 5 chicken legs, skins removed
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Goya Adobo seasoning
- 1/2 to 1 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. oregano
- 5 bacon strips
Add all seasonings to a bowl and mix well. Sprinkle chicken legs with the seasoning mixture. Wrap each leg with a strip of bacon and place in a glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Broil for 2 or 3 minutes to give the bacon a nice golden color. Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 5
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 2.2

"It's not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving." - Mother Teresa

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Low-Point Cheesy Squash Casserole

A recipe you'll want to keep on hand all summer long. This tasty squash casserole won't heat up your kitchen during the hot summer months because you don't even have to turn on your oven. Made in the microwave, it's easy, healthy, and very delectable! Enjoy!

Low-Point Cheesy Squash Casserole
- 1 1/2 lbs yellow or green squash, sliced (no need to peel)
- 1/2 cup green onions (chopped)
- 1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbs flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 oz. reduced-fat block cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 Tbs butter - Land O Lakes Lite
- Season to taste - I sprinkled pepper and Goya Adobo seasoning on top after this was done and it added more delicious flavor.
Combine squash and green onions in a large microwavable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, folding back a corner to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 6 minutes or until squash is tender. Do not drain. In a separate bowl whisk together mayonnaise and next three ingredients. Stir in squash mixture and cheese. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch by 11 1/2-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, folding back a small edge to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until casserole is set. Remove from microwave and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Stir together bread crumbs and melted butter and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Sprinkle over casserole and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 7 (1/2 cups)
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 2.7

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you've already mastered, you will never grow." - Ronald E. Osborn

Low-Point Broccoli Salad

What a great salad for summer and a wonderful source of fiber, vitamins, and anti-oxidants! This recipe was such a big hit with my family, I felt somewhat rushed to get this salad photographed so my husband and daughter could enjoy more helpings! I just took it as a compliment. :)

Low-Point Broccoli Salad
- 1 head fresh broccoli (chopped)
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 6 strips bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- 1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
- 2 Tbs Splenda
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Combine first three ingredients. In a small bowl, stir mayo, splenda, and vinegar. Add broccoli to mayonnaise mixture and combine until blended well. Toss with parmesan and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 10 (1/2 cups)
Serving size - 1 (1/2 cup)
Points per serving - 1.2

"Love has nothing to do with what you're expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give, which is everything." - Katharine Hepburn

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Low-Point Berry Parfait

When I was growing up, my mom used to take me to our local Dairy Queen and I would order a "Jack and Jill" sundae. Everybody in my small town knew that a Jack and Jill sundae consisted of melted marshmallow and chocolate. When I moved away many years later, I was at a Dairy Queen and excitedly went up to the counter and ordered a Jack and Jill sundae, only to get one bewildered expression looking back at me. I guess the names come and go but the memory of Mom taking me to the Dairy Queen for my "Jack and Jill" sundae will remain forever! xo 
This sundae, although not exactly the same, reminded me of what I used to order, only healthier. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

Low-Point Berry Parfait
(This recipe is for one serving only. Make as many as you need) :)
- 2 Tbs marshmallow fluff
- 1 tsp. Hershey's sugar-free chocolate syrup
- 2 Tbs cool whip lite
- Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or any kind you like)
Add teaspoon of chocolate syrup to marshmallow fluff. Microwave for a few seconds and stir, blending well. Add a little spoonful to the bottom of a skinny glass (such as a champagne flute). Add a few berries and then a small dollop of cool whip. Repeat with marshmallow fluff mixture, berries and then cool whip. Add a berry or two on top and wa-la, a wonderful light and refreshing dessert for less than 2 points. If you'd like a printer-friendly recipe for this recipe, Click Here.
Total Servings - 1
Points per serving - 1.3

"This one step - choosing one goal and staying to it - changes everything." - Scott Reed

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip


Prepare to salivate! This is a terrific appetizer for gatherings or parties; so wonderful that it became our supper after what was meant to be just a few bites to sample. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


- 1, 8 oz. 1/3 less-fat Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1/4 cup Lite chunky blue cheese dressing
- 2 Tbs Buffalo-style wing sauce
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1, 12.5 oz. can Swanson white chicken breast

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese with dressing and wing sauce. Add in cheese and chicken. Spoon into a 9-inch round pie dish and bake for 15 or 20 minutes until it's hot and bubbly. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

NOTE - If you prefer the dip to have more of a spicy kick, add another tablespoon of wing sauce or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.

"There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity." - Tom Peters

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coffee Cake


This amazing coffee cake, with a layer of brown sugar and cinnamon in the center and on top, gives you good reason to get up in the morning and get that coffee on! If you're looking for a heavenly treat, anytime of the day, look no further than your kitchen counter, where this cake should be by the end of the day. :)


- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 small pkg. sugar-free, fat-free instant vanilla pudding
- 1 cup light sour cream
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbs vanilla

Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Add package of vanilla pudding and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Pour half of the batter into a greased (sprayed with Pam baking cooking spray) 9-inch by 13-inch pan.


- 1/2 cup sugar or Splenda granulated sugar substitute
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix ingredients. Sprinkle half of the topping on the cake batter and then add remaining batter on top. Sprinkle the other half of the brown-sugar mixture on top of the cake and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle). Enjoy and good luck eating just one piece! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Long-range goals keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures." - James Cash Penney

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Low-Point Deconstructed Chocolate Meringue Pie

Deconstructed foods?? What the heck is that? Basically, it's taking the original recipe and "re-creating" it or taking apart a recipe and putting it back together again in a different form. This chocolate meringue pie (that uses the meringue for the crust) is a marvelous dessert that is a must try. At less than 2 points per serving, it's a dessert that doesn't disappoint. :)

Low-Point Deconstructed Chocolate Meringue Pie
- 1 cup Splenda granulated sugar substitute
- 1 Tbs cornstarch
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 small box of sugar free, fat free instant chocolate pudding
- 2 cups 1% Milk
- Strawberries
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Whisk together splenda and cornstarch. Beat egg whites at medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add cream of tartar and salt and beat until blended. Gradually add splenda mixture, 1 Tbs at a time, beating at medium-high speed until mixture is glossy, stiff peaks form, and splenda is dissolved (do not overbeat). Beat in vanilla. Gently spread mixture into a 7-inch round (sprayed with Pam "baking" spray), making an indention in center of meringue to hold filling. (I did not have a 7-inch round so I turned a 2 1/2 quart round casserole dish upside down and used the bottom of that to spread and bake my meringue mixture on.) Bake at 225 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until pale golden and outside has formed a crust. Turn oven off; let meringue stand in oven, with door closed and light on for 12 hours. Remove meringue. Whisk chocolate pudding with milk until thickened. Spread on top of meringue (I didn't need to use all the pudding for this and placed the extra pudding in a small bowl to enjoy later). Arrange strawberries on top and serve. If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 8
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 1.5

"The more you imagine your change, the more you become it." - Edward Grinnan

Friday, May 13, 2011

Low-Point Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Light and delicious! No need to make sure you're staying within your food-point range with this healthy dish. Less than .5 points per serving, feel free to fill up on these wonderful chicken salad stuffed tomatoes!

Low-Point Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes
- 1, 4.5 oz. can Swanson White Chicken Breast
- 1 Tbs fat-free mayonnaise
- 1/2 Tbs mustard
- 1/2 to 1 Tbs sweet relish
- seasonings to taste
- 7 Campari tomatoes (Campari's are about twice the size of cherry tomatoes)
Cut the tops of the tomatoes and carefully scoop out the insides. Place tomatoes upside down on paper towel to drain. Mix the chicken, mayo, mustard, and relish together. Spoon chicken salad mixture into each tomato and serve on bed of lettuce and/or cottage cheese. Enjoy this light and tasty low-point meal! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 7
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - .4

"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there." - Stevie Wonder

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Low-Point Miso Glazed Sea Bass

Making this fantastic fare, I learned two things. One, sea bass is pretty pricey; and two, this entree' is totally worth it! A friend gave me this recipe for four, but I turned it into a dinner for two. My husband gave this two thumbs up and has insisted on the purchase of more sea bass! (Why can't he feel the same about the purchase of shoes?)

Low-Point Miso Glazed Sea Bass
- 3 Tbs Mirin (sweetened Saki)*
- 2 1/2 Tbs yellow Miso (japanese soybean paste)**
- 1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
- 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 Tbs chopped green onion (optional)
- 1 Tbs chopped fresh basil (optional)
- 2, 4 to 5 ounce sea bass fillets
Mix first four ingredients and spread in shallow glass baking dish. Add fish and turn to coat. (Although the recipe suggests this be chilled for 2 to 6 hours, I immediately cooked the fish after coating real well and it was still very flavorful.) Preheat broiler. Remove fish from marinade and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Broil fish for 3 to 4 minutes on each side (or until fish flakes with a fork). Sprinkle with green onions and basil if desired and serve. If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
* Mirin was easily found at my local grocery store
** Miso was not so easily found and can be purchased at Japanese markets, specialty food stores, or in the Asian food section of larger supermarkets (such as Dierberg's or Wegman's, for example).
Total servings - 2
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 5

"It has been wisely said that we cannot really love anybody at whom we never laugh." - Agnes Repplier

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Reflection

(Last year I was asked to prepare a Mother's Day speech to be shared with the congregation at our parish, Saint Francis of Assisi. I reread this reflection today and thought, since today is Mother's Day, I would share it with you. I hope you enjoy reading it.)

When Father Charlie asked me to speak today, one of my first responses was, “Well, do you have anyone else in mind?” almost hoping he would say, “Yes, never mind.” But he didn’t. He gave me time to think about it and realize that sometimes you just can’t grow unless you break out of your comfort zone.

As I began to reflect on this day, I was at a loss on what I would say. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the first person I thought of and I began praying, drawing strength from her. She is the one who all of us Mothers would love to emulate as being that perfect nurturing and loving mother to our own children.

My Grandmother was the second person I prayed to for guidance and wisdom. In my opinion my Grandmother was as close to being a saint as you could possibly get, raising nine children of her own, helping to raise several grandchildren and lovingly caring for any baby or child that needed her. My grandmother loved children. She was always full of love, kindness and that special homemade remedy that could cure almost any ailment.

Then there is my mother, who is pretty much a saint herself for having all of us five children by the time she was 26. With three brothers only a year apart and my sister and I only two years apart, we’re still not sure how she managed to get us all raised while keeping her sanity intact.

My husband and I have been blessed with three wonderful children of our own who are 19, 16, and 13. We were also fortunate enough to foster and love six newborn babies at different times and are sure that their adoptive mother’s are having a very blessed Mother's Day as well.

In today’s gospel as Jesus continues His teachings to his disciples, He speaks to them, sharing His wisdom and love while He is still among them. He reveals His love for them and lets them know that when He is no longer with them, God will send the Holy Spirit to them, and the Holy Spirit will help guide them and remind them of all Jesus had taught them.

My husband and I often remind our own children to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit when they are unsure of what to do, or conflicted with any situation where they need guidance to help them make the right call.

One of the things I have learned is that what we say and do as Mothers reveals who we are and ultimately who our children are and will become. This becomes more visible through the years when you discover that your children have taught us nearly as much as we taught them. From our children we learned to have a little more patience, a lot more compassion and understanding and the necessary ability to pick our battles carefully. As in most families, there are... and always will be a few trying times here and there. Some worse than others and some that might even shake up your faith a bit. In those times you pray that the Holy Spirit shows you the way. In most cases, throughout a lot of different times in your life, the Holy Spirit will show you, through your children's faith, that God is always there. When you see the Holy Spirit working through your children, it increases your own faith a hundred times. It can be through your son, who after making his First Reconciliation, walks back to the pew while looking over at you with the biggest smile and giving you two thumbs up. Or it can be in a simple car ride, running your daughter to yet another dance class and seeing her in the rear view mirror, making the sign of the cross as we pass the big Crucifix on Telegraph Road... every time we pass it. And faith shows itself in even your oldest child who calls from college and through conversation you discover that even though she no longer lives at home, she is still saying her prayers. Over the course of the last 19 years, through my kids, I have learned that not only their faith has grown stronger but my faith has endured, slipping occasionally during our struggles, but increasing with greater strength through the examples of not only what I have shown to my children, but through the examples of what they have shown to me.

I pray we follow Mary’s example of loving and caring for our children so much that they can grow and reveal who they are and will become.

I want to wish all the Mother’s here a very Blessed Mother's Day... as well as my own Mother because who I am or hope to be, I owe to her.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Creole Potato Salad


A great dish to take to cookouts and gatherings; but have the recipe ready to give to others, because they are sure to ask for it! :) This delicious recipe for potato salad has a slight "kick". You can spice it up even more by adding more creole seasoning, or feel free to leave out the Creole seasoning if you don't care for spice. Delicious and easy... those are soon becoming my two favorite words.


- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and largely diced
- 5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 tsp. onion powder or 1 green onion, diced
- 1 tsp. creole seasoning, optional
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tbs spicy brown mustard
- 1/2 Tbs regular mustard
- 1 cup fat-free mayonnaise
- 3 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

Bring potatoes to a boil in a large saucepan using water and/or chicken broth. Boil 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool. Stir mayonnaise and mustards together, then add the seasonings. Add potatoes, celery, and eggs to mayonnaise mixture and toss until combined. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Refrigerate leftovers. If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Low-Point Apple Crisp

There's nothing like fresh, hot apple crisp right out of the oven topped with cool whip or caramel syrup. This low-point apple crisp will delight your palate and please your tummy -- probably enough for a second helping. :)

Low-Point Apple Crisp
- 2 medium apples, peeled and cored
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. all spice
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 Tbs Splenda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 4 Tbs butter, (Land O Lakes Light)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch baking dish with Pam cooking spray. Peel and core apples. Slice them about 1/4-inch thick. Place apples in a bowl with the corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and cranberries. Mix well and arrange the mixture in the baking pan. Combine flour, brown sugar, Splenda, salt, rolled oats, and cinnamon. Add slightly-softened butter until mixture is crumbly. Arrange butter crumble mixture atop apples until it's evenly coated. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with ice cream (if desired); OR for a lower-point dessert, add 2 Tbs lite cool whip or 1/2 Tbs fat-free Smucker's caramel sundae syrup to each serving. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 6 (1/2-cup servings)
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 2 
If you add 2 Tbs of lite cool whip or 1/2 Tbs Smucker's caramel sundae syrup, the total points per serving is 2.5.

"No-one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden for another." - Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cheeseburger Empanadas


In an earlier blog, I have a wonderful and tasty recipe for fruit-filled empanadas. However, you can fill empanadas with a variety of foods, and this great cheeseburger recipe is just another way to enjoy these scrumptious bites of heaven!


- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup butter, softened slightly but cool
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbs cottage cheese
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 tsp. Goya Adobo seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 cup pasta/pizza sauce
- Shredded cheese

For the Empanadas: Place flour in a medium bowl or mixer. Cut in butter and mix until the flour is crumbly. Blend in cottage cheese until mixture forms a ball. Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll out dough in flour to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut circles out of the dough (approximately 4 to 4 1/2 inches in diameter.) Place on slightly greased cookie.

While the dough is chilling, brown ground beef and drain grease. Add Adobo seasoning, pepper, onion powder, and pizza sauce and stir. Spoon 1 Tbs of meat mixture onto the center of each empanada and then place 1 Tbs of shredded cheese on top of meat mixture. Fold dough over and seal/crimp using a fork. Bake empanadas at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until they are slightly golden brown). 

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live." 
- Flora Whittemore

Monday, May 2, 2011

Low-Point White Barbecue Sauce

I'm very happy spring is here! Looking very forward to preparing a lot of our meals outside on the grill. Whether I'm grilling chicken, pork, steak, or other delicious meat items, I'm always thrilled to find recipes for a new blend of seasoning, a wonderful marinade, or savory sauces. This recipe for white barbecue sauce has a wonderful taste; and if you're a fan of horseradish, I'm sure you will enjoy it as well.

Low-Point White Barbecue Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, or white cooking wine
- 1 garlic glove, minced
- 1/2 Tbs ground pepper
- 1 Tbs spicy brown mustard
- 1 tsp. Splenda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cream style horseradish (regular horseradish works too)
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy. Refrigerate leftover sauce and use within a week to week and a half. If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Points per serving - .4 for 2 Tbs

"Today is a new day. Make it work for you." - Laura Yagelski