Monthly Archives: January 2011


Mini Orange Cheesecakes

Everyone should have a signature color! Julia Robert’s character Shelby in Steel Magnolias proclaimed hers to be blush and bashful. My mom says hers is taupe and peach…she sent me and my sis for a pedi in this off the beaten path nail salon while sitting there we realized why she raved about this place – the decor – taupe and peach!

And of course there’s me. I love orange. This is not because I was raised a Tennessee Vol. It’s a beautiful, bright and chic color. Take a look… 




4 oz. neufatchel cheese or reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup 0% Fage greek yogurt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 c. sugar

1 egg white

1 tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. orange zest

Vanilla Wafers

Muffin Cups (I like the no pan needed kind)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together cream cheese and yogurt until smooth. Add in the next 5 ingredients. Blending well.

Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each  muffin cup and place them on a cookie sheet. Fill cups with about a 1/4 cup of the cream cheese mixture. This will yield about 8 mini cheesecakes.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes  – the center should be set. Place cup on a wire rack and cool completely before putting in the fridge.


I love the organic vanilla wafers at Whole Foods – they are delicious and super crunchy. You could certainly substitute a reduced fat vanilla wafer.

This recipe can be easily doubled. I like to make small batches of sweets so I don’t over indulge!

Pecans or pecans?

Pork Tenderlion Medallions with Mustard Sauce & Pecans

When I was in college I volunteered myself to cook for a dinner party my Nana was hosting. Looking back, I was pretty confident to cook an entire meal for my Nana and her friends. These were the same ladies whose recipes appeared in one of my beloved cookbooks, Gazebo Gala. The recipes were deep in southern traditions, full of butter and of course delicious.

My menu was as follows:

Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast with a Dijion Sauce, Broiled Stuffed Tomatoes, Asparagus and Chocolate Tarts.

Once I had sauteed the chicken and it was ready for the oven – we realized the oven was stuck on broil! My dinner was literally going to go down in flames. I calmly sat on the stoop to smoke a cigarette ( this was college!) and came up with a game plan. I  decided to rotate the chicken, tomatoes and rolls under the broiler until I got them finished. It worked and the dinner party went off with out a hitch.

The chicken recipe called for 10 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of safflower oil. Not only that but the chicken was entirely coated in pecans! To say the least it was a very decadent dish.

I came up with this healthier version a few years later. You could use chicken but I prefer using pork tenderloin.


1 lb pork tenderloin, visible fat trimmed, sliced into 1 inch pieces

salt and pepper

canola oil spray

2 tbsp low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup light sour cream

2 tsp dijion mustard

2 tbsp pecan pieces, toasted

chopped parsley for garnish

Pound pork into 1/4 inch medallions, season both sides with salt and pepper.

Coat pan with canola oil spray and over medium heat cook medallions about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Turn heat to low and add chicken broth to deglaze pan, scraping the bottom to get up all the bits of flavor. The add sour cream, mustard and salt and pepper. Stir until a smooth consistency being careful not to boil sauce.

Serve pork medallions with mustard sauce and topped with a few toasted pecans pieces and chopped parsley.


I use light sour cream for this dish – be careful not to get too hot or the sour cream will seperate.

I usually serve the medallions with whipped sweet potaotes and sauteed spinach. Tonight I was in a hurry so I heated up a package of  quinoa & whole grain brown rice.

Here we go…

Healthy Turkey Chili with Jalapeno-Cheddar
 Cornbread Croutons

 Being from Tennessee and after living many years in Texas – I have learned my way around a bowl of Chili! And since it is a cold Ohio winter, I can’t think of a better way to introduce my first recipe adventure.

I like chili with beans it just adds more texture than the all beef version. Using lean ground turkey breast makes this  delicious lowfat version. You can use the regular ground turkey with the 93/7 fat content but I was going for a super lean bowl of chili.

And of course for those of you who like more heat – just add more cayenne until you get it where you want it. Eyes watering and nose running!



Cheddar-Jalapeno Cornbread Croutons

2 cups self-rising cornmeal

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups lowfat buttermilk

2 tbsp canola oil

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

1/2 cup lowfat (2%) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together first 5 ingredients until well blended. Then add in jalapenos and cheese.

Pour into a loaf pan prepared with non-stick spray.

Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour. The bread will pull away from the sides when it is done – and it never really gets brown on top.

You can make this a day ahead for the croutons.


Cut bread into 1 inch x 1inch pieces and toast on  a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for 5-8 minutes until toasty.


Healthy Turkey Chili

1 tbsp. canola oil

1/2 large sweet yellow onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb lean ground turkey

salt and pepper

3 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 – 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 – 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 – 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

3 cups low sodium tomato juice

In a large, heavy soup pot heat oil over medium-high heat, add onions and cook for two minutes or until tender, add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

Add turkey, salt and pepper to taste and cook throughly.

Add spices, tomato paste and worcestershire sauce to the cooked meat and stir to make sure spices are worked in and then add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well.

Let chili simmer on low heat for 1 hour.

Top with Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread Croutons!