pf chang's quality chicken lettuce wraps

recipe adapted from here.

these are a new favorite.  not nearly as spicy as the turkey version and the mushrooms are a great addition.  super yummy, super healthy!

chicken lettuce wraps

2 tbsp sesame oil
1.5 lb ground chicken breast
1 cup chopped water chestnuts
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2/3 chopped mushrooms (rinsed)
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce

special sauce

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 water
2 tbsp soy sauce (i used low sodium tamari)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp hot mustard
2 tsp garlic red chile paste
2 tsp water

stir fry sauce

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar


make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.  add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.  mix well and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

combine the hot water with the mustard and chili sauce. set this aside as well.  eventually, add the mustard and garlic chili sauce mixture to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.

heat remaining sesame oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan.

saute chicken until done.

while chicken is cooking, mince water chestnuts, green onions, mushrooms and garlic.

prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar in a small bowl.

when the chicken is cooked through, add the garlic, onions, mushrooms and water chestnuts to the chicken.  pour the stir fry sauce over the mixture and saute for a couple of minutes.

serve mixture in lettuce cups topped with desired amount of "special sauce."

serves 4 (approximately 2 lettuce wraps per person)

nutritional info is for 1/4 of the recipe including 2 tbsp of "special sauce."

Nutrition Facts
chicken lettuce wraps
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat14g
      Saturated Fat2.5g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber1.7g
Vitamin A 3%Vitamin C 6%
Calcium    1%Iron 12%


curried cashew, grape, and pear salad with honey mustard vinaigrette

this past friday the scott's came over for dinner.  melissa brought a delicious salad with curried cashews, grapes and pears.  oh, and a little bacon!  yum.  i had at least four servings.  way more than my fair share.

it was so good, i decided to try my hand at it and make it the next night for dinner. my in-laws were coming over and i know my father in law really loves my weird food.  not.  

it was so good again that i decided to make it the next night for father's day dinner at my parents house. 

i'm not sure which recipe melissa followed.  i found one less bacon and borrowed the photo above from the source.  this dressing was a lot lighter in color than the version from friday night so i suspect melissa found a recipe that used regular mustard instead of dijon but, i could be wrong.

either way, it's super yummy and this recipe is super healthy.


6 oz. mixed greens (I used both romaine and classic mixed greens)
1 Bartlett of Bosc pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved

Curried Cashews:
1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashew halves
1 tsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp. white wine/white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toast cashews in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, until browned. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, rosemary, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, and red pepper. Add cashews and shake to coat. Cool.

2. To make the vinaigrette, whisk to combine vinegar, Dijon, and honey in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Toss greens with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Top with pears, grapes, and curried cashews. Drizzle with extra vinaigrette if desired.

Serves 4


grilled asparagus with balsamic glaze

this was dinner on tuesday night.

teriyaki chicken with grilled pineapple, brown rice and grilled asparagus with balsamic glaze.  this is my favorite way to eat asparagus.

first, you spray the asparagus with cooking spray then grill it over low heat until it's cooked but still crisp (about 6 minutes with one turn in the middle).

then, you make the glaze and drizzle it over the asparagus before serving.  easy enough, right?

balsamic glaze
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp soy-sauce (i use low sodium tamari)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
cracked pepper (to taste, optional)

melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  simmer until brown (about 5 minutes).  stir in soy sauce, sugar and vinegar.  bring to a simmer.  reduce and simmer until vinegar reduces (about 8 - 10 minutes).  



chicken marsala

i promise this will be the last noodle post for awhile.  i am all noodled out.

my cousin tonya recommended this recipe from cooking light.  it's really yummy.  we had it last week as a "pre marathon" dinner.  it is one of those dishes with surprising flavors and deliciousness considering how simple it is to make.

the only change for me (from the recipe) is that next time, i'm doubling the marsala and mushroom sauce.

chicken marsala

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)


  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  cup  presliced mushrooms
  • 1/2  cup  Marsala wine
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley


Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each piece to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. 

Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add mushrooms, wine, broth, and juice to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup. 

Return chicken to pan, turning to coat well. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information

241 (21% from fat)
5.6g (sat 1g,mono 3g,poly 0.9g)


frozen yogurt popsicles ~ strawberry

not the greatest photo but, it will have to do.

brooklyn and i made popsicles the other day using greek yogurt and frozen strawberries.  oh, and a little bit of sugar.  just a little.  shhhh.

the result, deliciousness on a stick.

strawberry popsicles
16 oz frozen strawberries, thawed
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup of bakers sugar (fine)
2 Tbsp water
juice from one lemon
1 cup greek yogurt or 1 cup strained yogurt (i used fage 0% plain yogurt)

bring the strawberries, water and 1/3 cup of sugar to a simmer in a medium sauce pan. simmer for 10 minutes or until strawberries are very soft.  pour into a food processor, add the lemon and pulse until almost pureed but not liquified.

refrigerate mixture until completely cool (at least an hour. i did this overnight).

once strawberry mixture is cool, mix 1/4 cup of sugar with yogurt until sugar is completely dissolved.  gently fold strawberry mixture into yogurt mixture until just combined.

pour into molds.

freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.


yields 6 popsicles

Nutrition Facts
frozen yogurt & strawberry popsicles
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat0.1g
      Saturated Fat0g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber1.5g
Vitamin A 1%Vitamin C 55%
Calcium    6%Iron 3%

summer pasta salad

i'm loading up on the carbs this week.  can you tell?

this is an old family favorite.  i use bottled italian dressing because it's easy, not because it's nutritious.

summer pasta salad
1 lb chicken breast, seasoned and grilled (i use lemon pepper seasoning)
16 oz of your favorite pasta, cooked, drained and chilled
2 heads of broccoli, chopped and blanched*
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
grape tomatoes (as many as you like)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 bottle kraft free zesty italian dressing
cheddar cheese, cubed (optional .. the kids love it)

*i blanch the broccoli during the last minute of cooking the pasta.  throw it in the boiling water, boil for 1 minute and then drain it with the pasta immediately rinsing under cold water to stop the cooking.  blanching will bring the color out in the broccoli which makes this dish so pretty.  i personally prefer my raw veggie blanched anyway so ...

once everything is cooked, cooled, chopped, rinsed, etc.  mix it all together in a big bowl.  the leftovers are amazingly delicious.

p.s.  my mom really likes olives in hers.  feel free to add whatever you wish.
p.p.s  i didn't run the nutritional info.  it's healthy, especially with wheat pasta.
p.p.p.s could easily be made vegetarian


blueberry pancakes

recently i had a talk with a family member who enjoys healthy living too and i learned that we both have had the same embarrassing problem with fiber one products.  for her, the fiber one bars were a great go-to for a quick breakfast but the side effects weren't worth the convenience.  she said with a slightly discouraged tone "we're back to eating fruit and yogurt for breakfast."

this post is for her.  maybe i can give her some fresh ideas?

first, the green monster below is my favorite "super quick" breakfast but most of the time, i do like some solid food to kick off the day and blueberry pancakes are perfect!

these blueberry pancakes are whole wheat and let me tell you, it took me a long time to find a brand of whole wheat pancake mix that i really like to eat.   sure, i could make them from scratch but that doesn't sound appealing, not yet anyway.

in our home, we have pancakes on sunday.  i make enough to last the rest of the week and throw them in the freezer so i have a some quick healthy alternatives to sugar cereals for my kids and for myself.

obviously the kids love maple syrup on their pancakes but i can't afford the calories or the sugar so i stick with a pinch of cinnamon/sugar mix, sliced banana's and about a tbsp of sugar free syrup on top.  it really is perfectly delicious.  especially paired with a bowl of fresh fruit (i like a cup of light vanilla soy milk over my fruit instead of yogurt).

the pancakes are super easy to make.  i follow the directions but use canola oil instead of vegetable oil and the vanilla soy milk instead of regular milk.  if you don't like soy milk than i would mix in a couple drops of vanilla extract to add some sweetness to the batter.

don't forget a handful of fresh blueberries.


for more breakfast ideas, click on "breakfast" to the left.


green monster

my kids drink these because of the name alone.

they are so nutritious.  guess what i put it in them?

yes.  spinach.
yes. flaxseed.
yes. berries, banana's, soy milk, protein powder and oj.  

they love green monsters.  i do too.  i drink one almost every day.  

looking for a quick breakfast, lunch or even (often) dinner!?

green monster smoothie
1/2 cup oj (fortified)
1 cup soy milk or skim milk (i use light vanilla soy)
handful fresh spinach (show the kids popeye)
1 banana, sliced
4-5 strawberries, sliced
1 Tbsp flax
2 Tbsp vanilla protein powder

blend.  yum

fruit alternatives and/or pairings that are yummy; blueberry and banana.  oj and pineapple.  blackberries and raspberries. anything goes.

i also LOVE chocolate protein powder, chocolate soy milk (light), 1 Tbsp almond butter, 1 banana and 1 Tbsp flax blended with ice.  this is like dessert.  i swear.

mandarin chicken pasta salad

i made this dish today to share with the family up "camping" for dinner.  "camping" is when we go hang out for the day with my parents at their resort/time share/campground.  

i forgot to take a picture before we ate it and so i had to borrow the photo from the original source.  i must mention i also forgot to add the spinach.  it wasn't missed at all though.  the salad was amazing without it and i will definitely make it again with our without the spinach.

mandarin chicken pasta salad

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, diced
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
2 tsp sugar

Mix well and refrigerate. {i used my food processor and added the oils very slowly as the last two ingredients while it was processing.  this is the best way to mix oil and vinegar by the way}.

8 oz bowtie pasta, cooked {i used iron fortified barilla plus+}
1 lb chicken breast, poached and diced
1/2 of a cucumber, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
6 oz. baby spinach
11 oz can mandarin oranges, well drained
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (350 for 8 minutes)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional, I think they go well with the sesame oil in the dressing)

Toss and serve immediately.

grilled vegetable pasta salad

this was yummy.  obviously (or i wouldn't be posting it).  i actually made this earlier in the week but after a dramatic experience involving a bird and our grill, i hadn't been in the mood to post the recipe until now.  this is one of three pasta salads i made this week.  all of which are perfect for summer bbq's.  i'll post the other two later.

two things; 1) i've fallen in love with tomatoes roasted with garlic and 2) i added a few grilled chicken breasts to this dish to make it more of a meal.

grilled vegetable pasta salad
1 pint grape tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium green bell pepper
1 small eggplant
1 medium red onion
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
14 oz pasta (i used cavatappi)
1 cup balsamic vinegar (i used newman's light which was good but next time, i'm going to make my own for the fun of it)
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan cheese (enough to sprinkle on top)

STEP 1: If using roasted tomatoes, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pour the tomatoes out onto a baking sheet with 5 cloves of peeled garlic. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of olive oil over them along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Using your hands, stir it all up to make sure the tomatoes and garlic are well coated in the oil, salt and pepper. Place them in the oven to roast for about 40 minutes. Stir them twice during the roasting process.

STEP 2: Light the grill or charcoal and allow to heat while you prep the vegetables. Wash and slice the rest of the vegetables. Only slice them into two or three large chunks so they do not fall into the grill (see photo below). I cut the squash, onion and bell pepper into two pieces each and the eggplant into medallions about 1 inch thick.

STEP 3: Place the sliced vegetables onto another baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining 3 Tbsp of olive oil and another pinch of salt and pepper. Using your hands mix them all up until they are all well coated in the oil. The eggplant will soak the oil up like a sponge so to make sure it is coated you can wipe it on the tray where oil has dripped off of the other vegetables.

STEP 4: Grill the vegetables until they are slightly charred on the outside and slightly soft but not mushy (see photos below). Return them to the tray and allow them to cool.

STEP 5: While the vegetables are cooling, begin boiling the pasta according to the directions on the box. While the pasta is boiling, chop the grilled vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. Coarsely chop about 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley.

STEP 6: After the pasta has been cooked and drained, allow it to cool slightly. Combine the chopped vegetables, parsley, pasta and 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette. Stir until everything is evenly coated with the vinaigrette. Refrigerate until ready to serve!


beef and chicken fajitas

i made this recipe for the family at my mom and dad's last week.  it was really yummy.  the meat and vegetables need to be marinated for at least 4 hours.  i chose to marinate them overnight and added a little sprite to the marinade because i didn't have enough beef broth and we had sprite leftover from our week with the stomach flu that needed to be used.  the thing about sprite is i love it!  it kills me when i know there's a box of sprite sitting in the garage.  i either have to dump it, use it in a recipe or drink it.  dumping it is painful and drinking it is a recipe for disaster so i chose to cook with it.  personally, i think it was a great touch to this marinade and when i make it again (and i will), i will definitely add it then too.

i made a few changes to this recipe and i've noted them below in exception to how i cooked the meat and veggies.  since the meat was already pre-sliced and there were so many veggies in the mixture, i didn't want to hassle with the bbq so i just sprayed two broiler pans and broiled the meat and the veggies in separate ovens under high heat.  luckily for me, my mom has two ovens so this was easy.  i guess otherwise i would have had to be more creative.

{{i served our fajita's with a little side of mexican rice straight out of the box and homemade black bean and corn salsa which is delicious!  ... 

black bean and corn salsa 
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 can of corn, rinsed and drained 
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped 
2 avocado's, cubed (right before serving) 
3 green onions, chopped 
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil 
1 Tbsp sugar 
2 tomatoes, chopped 
juice from 3 limes  

whisk together olive oil, sugar and lime juice.  combine all other ingredients EXCEPT for avocado in a medium sized bowl.  mix in oil mixture.  refrigerate to combine flavors for at least an hour (more the better).   right before serving, mix in avocado. serve with baked tortilla chips or pita wedges.  yum!}}

beef and chicken fajitas


  • 1/4  cup  olive oil
  • 1  teaspoon  grated lime rind
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 2  tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/2  teaspoon  coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (14.25-ounce) can low-salt beef broth (**i used about 1 cup of broth and 1 cup of sprite)

  • 1  (1-pound) flank steak (**i used pre-sliced beef for fajitas)
  • 1  pound  skinned, boned chicken breast (**i used boneless breasts, sliced thin for fajitas)
  • 2  red bell peppers, each cut into 12 wedges
  • 2  green bell peppers, each cut into 12 wedges
  • 1  large Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 16 wedges
  • Cooking spray
  • 16  (6-inch) fat-free flour tortillas (**i used whole wheat tortillas)
  • 1  cup  bottled salsa
  • 1/4  cup  low-fat sour cream (**i used ff plain yogurt)
  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs


To prepare marinade, combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
To prepare fajitas, trim fat from steak. Score a diamond pattern on both sides of the steak. Combine 1 1/2 cups marinade, steak, and chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Combine remaining marinade, bell peppers, and onion in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Prepare grill.
Remove steak and chicken from bag; discard marinade. Remove vegetables from bag; reserve marinade. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan; set aside. Place steak, chicken, and vegetables on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 8 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
Wrap tortillas tightly in foil; place tortilla packet on grill rack the last 2 minutes of grilling time. Bring reserved marinade to a boil. Cut steak and chicken diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Place the steak, chicken, and vegetables on a serving platter; drizzle with reserved marinade.
Arrange about 1 ounce steak, about 1 ounce chicken, 3 bell pepper wedges, and 1 onion wedge in a tortilla; top with 1 tablespoon salsa, about 1 teaspoon sour cream, and 1/2 tablespoon cilantro. Fold sides of tortilla over filling. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

407 (31% from fat)
14.2g (sat 4.3g,mono 7.1g,poly 1.4g)
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