Magnificent Main Courses

Piece-of- Cake, Peppered Steak

Perfectly tender and savory, this dish is an ideal dinner choice!  It is so colorful, flavorful and  easy to make (hence the title in case you were  thinking that this recipe called for cake), that you would be insane to pass it up. So get your grocery list and get going!

Serves: 4-6 people   Serving Size: about 1 cup     Prep Time: 8 minutes    Cook Time: 15 minutes  

1 lb Lean Meat, chopped into 2″ cubes  (sirloin and chuck cuts are nice lean picks)
1 medium Yellow Onion, sliced into strips
1 large or 2 small Green Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
2 medium Red Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
1/2 cup of good Sesame Teriyaki Sauce, like the kind by MIKEE
2 Tbls. chopped Garlic
1 tsp. Chicken Soup Consume
Black Pepper
Set 2 large pans (preferably a large wok) on the stove top. 
To the larger pan (hopefully a nonstick wok), add your garlic, peppers and onions and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Sprinkle the chicken soup consume over the vegetables. No oil is necessary for this step.
Once the vegetables are slightly tender, spray the bottom of the second pan with non-stick spray and add the meat to the pan over medium heat. Coat the meat with the paprika, black pepper and a little bit of salt to flavor and tenderize the meat.

Stir occasionally until the meat is 80% cooked through, about 5-7 minutes, and then pour the meat over the vegetables.
Add the teriyaki sauce and simmer on low-medium heat for another 5 or so minutes.
Serve over brown rice or quinoa and enjoy! It is also incredibly delectable without the carbs if you’re watching them ;)  
Tip: This is one of those recipes that tastes better over time as the flavors really get to settle in. Store in a tightly covered serving dish in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Warm it up either on a warming dish or in the oven. Enjoy!
Nutrition Breakdown: For a 1/5th of the recipe 
225 calories, 6.4 g fat, 2.1 g fiber,  24.5 g protein
Now that’s my kind of meal!!!
Cost: $$ 
An additional perk to using lean cuts of meat like chuck is that they are usually less expensive. For a meat dish, you will be stunned at how cheap you can make this. The whole thing should cost you less than $15 and makes a lot!

Perky Turkey l’Orange

3 Words: Make. This. Recipe. It’s simple to make, super healthy, looks beautiful, tastes incredible, and best of all, tastes even better as leftovers! Plus, as you can tell by the title, this recipe is both fun and fancy ;)

Serves: 8-10 people    Serving Size: 4 ounces     Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: 3 hours 
1 Frozen Whole Turkey Breast, defrosted.. like by Empire Kosher
1 good Orange 
Fresh Sprigs of Rosemary
Fresh Sprigs of Sage
1 Bottle of Tropical Teriyaki Sauce.. like (also pictured below) by Mikee
1 Oven Bag, Turkey Size (go figure) 
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spread the oven bag open, lining a tin bake pan. 
Next, take the defrosted turkey and rinse it in the sink, inside and out, and pat dry. Make sure the cavity of the turkey is nice and clear. 
Slice the orange width-wise in 1/4″ pieces and set aside. Use both ends of the orange to stuff into the cavity, along with 4 Sprigs of both sage and rosemary.

Now, turn the turkey over, cavity side down. Remove the leaves of the remaining rosemary and sage sprigs and rub them all over the turkey, along with the remaining orange slices.

Now, just take that bottle of awesome sauce and douse the turkey in it, all over.

Time to seal up that bag with a big knot! Make sure to pierce two 1″ slits in the bag so that the steam can let out and stick the turkey in the oven.

Cook the turkey at 375° F for 2 hours and then turn the oven to 300° F for a third hour. Remove the turkey from the bag and carve the turkey similar to Bobby Flay in . Serve with the Orange slices and Enjoy!!! Let me know what you think!!


1. If time permits, try to periodically (maybe twice or three times) move around the bag and sauces to baste the turkey. Don’t worry if you forget, cooking the turkey in the bag ensures that the turkey will be nice and moist.

2. Serve with gravy on top of the turkey and also leave extra gravy on the table in case somebody wants more or wants to use it to coat a side dish such as some roasted vegetables or brown rice.

3. When storing the leftovers, let the turkey sit in its gravy to continue to soak up the yummy gravy.

Nutrition Breakdown: per 4 ounces of turkey, apx. 2  slices 

195 calories, 7.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 g carbs, 23 g protein*

*Note: this is calculated with the skin, if you remove the skin, the calories drop down to 150 and the fat content drops down to approximately 2.5 g fat.

Cost: $$$   The ingredients may be on the more expensive side but, considering that there are so few ingredients and that it feeds well over 8 people, this recipe is extremely reasonable. 

Pretty Perky if you ask me!!

Grilled Chicken Salad and Birthday Cupcakes!

For the entire week prior to my husband’s birthday, it has been a non-stop food marathon. We flew to NY for Thanksgiving which encompassed a slew of restaurant eating- Chinese, Mexican, Deli, Dunkin Donuts (they don’t have them in LA!)-and a 4-hour long Thanksgiving feast. We pretty much had it with that heavy, I-just-need-to-pass-out feeling after every dinner, so for his actual birthday, I decided to cook nice and light.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Serves: 2    Serving Size: 1 salad     Prep Time: 6 minutes    Cook Time: 12 minutes 

Chicken Ingredients:
10 ounces of skinless, boneless chicken breast, pounded until thin 
3 Tblsp. Lemon Juice 
1 1/2 Tblsp. Dried Rosemary
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt 
Salad Ingredients:
3-4 cups of Fresh Spinach Leaves
1/2 cup of Chopped Onions
1/2 an Avocado 
1/2 Red Tomato and/or 1/4 cup of Raisins (optional)
Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 packet of Splenda (you can also use Equal/Stevia/Sugar/etc.)

Simply throw chicken breasts on a non-stick grill pan over medium-high heat (no non-stick spray needed). Sprinkle Garlic Salt on both sides of the chicken as the chicken gets from pink/clear to white. When the chicken is 3/4th done,  after about 4 minutes on each side have cooked, sprinkle the lemon juice and rosemary leaves on both sides. Cook until the chicken is fully white (another 2 minutes or so on each side). Set chicken aside.

Next, set out your two plates and first lay 1 1/2- 2 cups of spinach leaves on each plate. Then, divide the remaining salad ingredients between each plate just as you did with the spinach. 

Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and use a tablespoon to pour the dressing on each plate. Then top with the chicken and enjoy!
Nutrition Breakdown: per 1 salad with 5 oz. of chicken breast
383 calories (and so big and filling!), 16.4 g fat, 5 g fiber, 31.5 g protein 
Trim the Fat: cut out the avocado and save 70 calories and almost 7 grams of fat per serving. 

Now for the Birthday Cupcakes! 
This recipe couldn’t be easier. Just take 1 box of Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownies and mix with 2 Tbls. of water, 1/3 cup of unsweetened apple sauce and 1/4 cup of egg whites. Mix batter well and lay out a lot of adorable, rubber mini-cupcake molds on a large cookie sheet- I made 27 but it will vary with the size of your molds. Lightly spray rubber molds with a non-stick spray then, use a tablespoon and rubber spatula to spoon the batter into the molds (doesn’t “rubber molds” sound kind of gross? I’m not sure why).

Bake in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes, then take out and add a thin slice of banana to each one. I only used 1 banana so I had about 7 cupcakes that didn’t get one. Then, put back in the oven for a remaining 20 or so minutes (until you can place a tooth pick to the side of a banana slice and take it out clean). Now, arrange into a birthday number and Ta Da…Birthday Cupcakes!- no yucky frosting needed! 
Nutrition Breakdown: per 1 cupcake when the recipe makes 27 cupcakes
95 calories, 1.8 g fat, less than 1 g fiber,  1.5 g protein

Hot ‘n’ Spicy Thai Peanut Stir-Fry

This recipe is so good, the only complaint you’ll receive is if you don’t have extras for a round of seconds.  It hits the spot for a winter dinner, making you sweat from the chili’s heat. It’s so savory and satisfying, you’ll be licking the plate for every last drop. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!

Serving Size: apx. 1 1/2 cups or 1/2 the recipe      Serves: 2
Prep Time: 12 minutes       Cook Time: 15-20 minutes 

1 14 oz Bag of Frozen Peppers (or you can slice a fresh green, red and yellow pepper)
1 medium-sized Onion, chopped into big pieces (see picture for reference)
1 14 oz Package of Extra Firm Tofu
1 Tbsp. of Reduced-Fat Creamy Peanut Butter
4 Tbsp. Sesame Teriyaki Sauce
2 tsp. Light Soy Sauce
2 tsp. Chopped Red Chili Peppers- can also use the frozen cubes (1 for mild, but I highly recommend using 2)
3 Cloves of Garlic, smashed and chopped

First, put the chopped onions in the wok and let them heat up and soften on medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Then throw in the frozen or fresh peppers. If using frozen, take 1 square of a paper towel, fold it up and try soaking up some of the water at the bottom of the wok. No need to clear all of it.

Lower the flame to medium heat and then add chili paste and garlic cloves. While that is cooking, quickly open your tofu package, drain out the water, cut width-wise (by putting the knife on its side and easily sliding it from right to left). Then make 4-5 slices in the block from the top and 3 across and throw the tofu in the wok. Mix around with a rubber spatula (protects the wok). Let the whole mixture cook by stirring around occasionally.

When everything looks good and ready, add the peanut butter (takes a couple of seconds to melt a bit) and stir around so its evenly distributed. Now you can add 3 Tbsp. of teriyaki sauce and the soy sauce (if you add them too soon, they will cook through too quickly and force you to use more which means more calories!) At this point, you can turn off the flame and let it sit for a minute or two. Lastly, add the remaining tablespoon of teriyaki sauce and stir (this way the flavor doesn’t get lost in the cooking).

Plate with 1/2 cup of brown rice or have it plain and Enjoy!

Nutrition Breakdown:
372 calories, 15g fat (healthy from the tofu mainly), 6g fiber, 25.5g protein (right on!)

Trim the Fat: Use 5 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of tofu and save about 50 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Note: I would suggest trying this recipe with broccoli as well. I only thought of it afterwards but I’m sure it would be delicious! 

Easy, Shmeasy Cholent (Yiddish Stew)

Hey there old friends, foodies, health- aficiandos and people questioning that good food can be healthy too!

My friend asked for a Cholent recipe that could be healthy, easy to make and delicious, so naturally, she approached me with the challenge. Below find the recipe to this rockin’ cholent.
Serves: 12   Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 20 hours!! 
1 28oz. can of Bush’s Best Vegetarian Baked Beans (Fat Free)
1 20oz. can of Cedar 6-Bean Blend 
Note: I just use the canned stuff because I don’t want to waste my time soaking beans, but it’s up to you
8oz. Bagged Dried Pearled Barley
1 lb. Chuck Meat (looks lean!)
1/2 cup of Ketchup
1/2 cup of BBQ sauce
2 cups of yellow onions, pealed and cut into 1″ pieces
2 cups of sweet potatoes, pealed and cut into 1″ pieces
Generous with Spices: Garlic Powder, Paprika, Black Pepper, Salt, Onion Powder and everything else you want (think hot sauce if you dare)
Splash of beer to help soften the meat (optional)

In a crock pot, layer: 1. Dried Barley 2. Onions 3. Sweet Potatoes 4. All Beans 5. Meat 6. All Spices 7. Beer, BBQ Sauce and Ketchup
Then, add water so that it covers up to the top of all the layers.
Turn the crock pot on high for 2 hours, then drop to low for 20+ hours
Stir occasionally and add water as it evaporates 

Nutrition Breakdown:
1 serving (1 cup) = 250 calories, 1.5 g fat, 15.5 g Protein 7g Fiber!
Leftover Tip: use throughout the week:
1. On top of a Tumaros Gourmet Tortilla (Multi Grain, Low In Carbs) with salsa and 2 Tbls. Guacomole , shredded lettuce and diced onions and cilantro
2. With Brown Rice and steamed zuccini for a well rounded Monday night dinner
3. As a dip for Baked Pita Chips (simply made by cutting up pitas and baking with cooking spray and seasonings)

Semi-Homemade Tortellini’s & “Meat” Sauce!

My husband, Noah, has been on healthy eating overdrive and I can tell that he is starting to crave some serious carbs. By stating “serious carbs,” I’m alluding to the fact that even our tortilla wraps have more grams of fiber and protein than they do carbohydrates! So I decided to indulge him in some genuine tortellini’s and meat sauce. But of course, I had to do it my way: healthily, easily, and inexpensively. And the reviews were absolutely scrumptious!!
Serving Size: 20 tortillini’s and 1/2 cup of meat sauce  Servings Per Recipe: 4
Prep Time: practically non-existant Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
1 box of New York Pasta Authority California Sun-dried Tomato Tortellini…270 cals, 3g fat, & 6g fiber per serving (brand uses enriched flour so the tortellini maintains a high fiber content)
2 cups of Morningstar Soy Meat Crumbles (“Grillers Recipe Crumbles”)
Suggestion: Forget about the ingredients listed below and just use 1 1/4 cups of an awesome ready-made tomato sauce (less than 3g fat and 90 cals per serving)…or else use, 
1 small can of Tomato Paste
2 tsp. of Vegetable Consume 
2 Tblsp. Crushed Garlic
2 Tblsp. Herb Seasoning Blend to Taste
1 cup of water 

Boil the box of tortellini according to the box directions. It is super easy, prepare as you would pasta.

Next, take out a sauce pan and combine all ingredients for the meat sauce aside from the Morningstar Meat Crumbles (if you followed my suggestion above, you would just be adding the jarred tomato sauce to the pan- Now, that was easy!!!). After 2-3 minutes on sim to low heat, add the meat crumbles and stir. 
Tip: feel free to throw in meat crumbles straight from the freezer. 

Now just make sure you count out exactly 20 tortellini’s so you don’t overdue it (or take more, just keep track of it!) and add your yummy meat sauce! Bon Apetite!

Tip: Grab a grater and grate a folded slice of low fat swiss cheese for a nice kick! 

Serve With: 
I steamed up some giant artichokes (my favorite at just 70 calories a piece) and made Tabachniks 100 calorie Cabbage Soup! 

Nutrition Breakdown: For the Tortellini & “Meat” Sauce, per serving: 

361 calories, 4.5g fat, 11g fiber, 20g protein

Add Soup and Artichoke: 531 calories, 5.5g fat, 22g fiber, 25 g protein

Cost: $$ 
About $5.50 per serving (including side dishes) 
Note: Tabatchnick soup was on sale for $1.99 and includes 2 servings. Artichokes were priced per item instead of per pound, so I took the largest ones they had! SCORE!

I’m-a-Fraud-Spaghetti-&-Meatballs & Stir Fry for Later! 

I am proud to introduce the star of this blog post!!…. Spaghetti Squash! I’ve heard so much about it but it wasn’t until I watched my brave friend, Abby, make it that I was willing to give it a shot and boy- I’m so glad I did!
Serving Size: 2 big Cups of “Spaghetti” or apx. 1/4 of a Spaghetti Squash and 1.5 Tofurkey Sausages worth of Meatballs! aka HUGE!!
Serves: 2.. easy to double the recipe for 4 people but take a look below at what I do with my leftovers!!
1/2 Spaghetti Squash
1/2 Jar of Your Favorite Marinara Sauce (watch the fat content.. should have less that 3-4 g fat)
1/2 Onion
1 Package of Your Favorite Flavor Tofurky Sausages ( You will only use 3 of the 4 in the package)
Mushrooms (optional)
Garlic (optional)
Parsley to Garnish (optional)
Microwave the whole squash for about 5 minutes until it’s soft enough to cut in half, lengthwise. Next, place both sides (you might as well cook both sides right away.. the other half refrigerates great once its cooked) in baking pans and cook at 375 F for about an hour (might even take longer!!) until the squash falls apart easily using a fork.

P.S. Don’t listen to cooking sites that say you have to boil the squash in water or anything like that. I experimented with that and it took away the flavor of the squash and tasted bland.. Yuck!

While the squash is baking, cut up your Tofurky Sausages into chucks aka Meatballs!

Then throw into a sauce pan with Your Favorite Marinara Sauce! Here is your chance to add additional spices, garlic, mushroom and onions if you like.

When the squash is ready, use a fork (use metal, plastic will melt!) to pull apart the meat of the squash (no! not literal meat, silly!) and scoop about 2 cups worth on to each dinner plate. Then pile the “Meatballs” and Sauce right on top! Garnish with Parsley if you like (I’m not that fancy for a Tuesday night dinner) and Voila! You got Ilana’s take on “Spaghetti & Meatballs”

Tip: Mix it all together before you take that first bite, you want the sauce to coat all of the spaghetti.

Nutrition Breakdown:

489 cal, 19 g fat (not terribly low so eat lower fat foods the rest of the day, it’ll be worth it!), 14g Fiber (wowza!), 45 g Protein (woohoo!)

Trim the Fat:  Use 5 ounces of 96% or more fat free lean ground turkey and mix with the spices of your choice, 2 Tbsp. of egg whites and 2 Tbsp. of seasons bread crumbs. Mix all together, form into balls and bake in the oven at 350 for 30 or so minutes. You will save about 170 calories and 13 grams of fat.

Note: Its a massive portion, so if you eat less, it will be less!

Cost: $

The spaghetti squash was $5.67 for the whole thing.. meaning just $1.42 per huge serving. The Tofurky Sausages are $5-6 for the pack of 4… just $2.10 per serving. And the sauce is up to you but, you will probably use about $1 per serving.
Total: $4.52 for a bangin’ dinner!! Me likey!!

What To Do With The Leftovers You Ask??
I threw the spaghetti into a delicious stir-fry with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut up veggies! Perfection!

Deluxe Roasted Turkey Wraps

Although I don’t love to endorse any deli meats, once in awhile isn’t going to kill you. Please make sure to ask your butcher repeatedly for the leanest, cleanest, healthiest turkey breast he has and then ask for extra thin slices. This dinner or lunch option is so good and easy to make, I like to treat myself to it every month or so. Try it and let me know what you think!

Serving Size: 1 wrap     Total Prep/Cook Time: 6 minutes  

Ingredients: (per 1 wrap)
1 Mission Multi-Grain Tortilla  
2 Slices of lean Deli Turkey Pastrami  
4 Slices of lean Deli Turkey Breast Slices  
1 Tbsp. Sweet and Sour Mustard 
2 thin slices of Avocado 
1/4 Red Pepper 
1 Tbsp. “Eel” Sauce or Teriyaki Sauce
Garlic Salt to Taste
Start by washing and julianning your pepper. On a great grill pan, like my trusty Calphon, lightly spray with PAM and start grilling your red peppers- I like to sprinkle Garlic Salt over them. After 2 minutes, add your meat slices and flip when slightly brown. After another minute or so, add your wrap and wait 30 seconds before assembling. To assemble: first squirt the mustard down the center.
 Next, stack the meat, followed by the grilled peppers and sliced avocado. Lastly, top off with the eel sauce or teriyaki sauce.

Nutrition Breakdown: 
320 calories. 8g Fat. 6g Fiber. 18g Protein 

Cost Count: $$  
apx. $5.50 per wrap 
Feel free to munch on some edamame as a healthy side dish and chew on some fresh grapes for dessert like we did.
Have a delightful night!
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