Category Archives: low-fat

Putting it on the Plate with PICKKA – Mini Feta Herb Sundried Tomato Quiche


 Need an easy, healthy appetizer to make for a special occasion?  Try these mini quiche using premade pastry shells.  The fat content of this hors d’oeuvres is reduced compared to its traditional counterpart by using egg whites, fat-free evaporated milk, and reduced-fat feta cheese.  To help you find the ingredients that fit best with your nutritional and health needs, use your “Shop to Lose“, “Eat This?”, and “Eat What?” apps for the iPhone.  Click here for the recipe.


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Filed under appetizers, Eat This?, Eat What?, healthy food, iPhone apps, low-fat, PICKKA, Recipes, Shop to Lose

Putting it on the Plate with PICKKA – Easy Father’s Day Dessert

A broiled peach topped with reduced-fat ice cream makes for a healthier, yet sweetly satisfying, dessert.

I decided to get a little “peachy” with the Father’s Day dessert this year.  My choice? Broiled peaches with reduced-fat vanilla ice cream.  Why? I wanted to make something that could be prepared in individual servings to prevent overindulging on leftovers later (as would happen with me and a pie).  Yet, I wanted the dessert to be satisfying enough that there wasn’t a residing feeling of being “cheated” out of dessert.

I used my Evincii/PICKKA “Eat This?” app for the iPhone to help me find the right ice cream and granola for my goals.  My first choice for ice cream fell into the “Not Too Bad” category.  I wasn’t pleased with this.  I wanted an ice cream that fell into a healthier category because the main course would be higher in calories because of the special occasion.  Therefore, I used the “View Healthy Alternatives” option of the app and found an ice cream that was categorized as a “Good Choice.”  Next, I used my “Eat This?” app to find granola.  My choice fell in the “OK Choice,” but I saw on my app that three other consumers gave it a five star taste rating.  Because only 1 tsp would be served to each individual, I decided it was an acceptable choice, especially since other purchasers indicated it was tasty.

I decided to use fresh peaches, rather than canned.  Although most of the recipes that I have come across for broiled peaches require you to sprinkle sugar and/or butter on the peach halves prior to broiling, I decided against it.  I chose to rely on the natural sweetness of the peaches combined with the creaminess of the ice-cream to give appeal to this dessert.  Therefore, I broiled the peaches “au natural.”  Here is how I prepared the dessert:


  • 3 medium ripe peaches, cut in half, pits removed, and skin left on (use more peaches if serving more than 6 people; figure a 1/2 peach per person)
  • Reduced-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (enough for one scoop per person)
  • Reduced-fat Granola (1 tsp per person)
  • Cinnamon (enough for garnish)
  • Honey (about 1/2 TBS per person)


Preheat the broiler.  Wash and pat dry peaches.  Carefully slice each peach in half and remove the pit.  Place peaches, cut-side up, on broiler pan lined with aluminum foil.  Place in the oven about 3 inches from the heat.  Cook until juices start to bubble and peaches are browned (about 3-5 minutes).  Remove from the oven.  Let cool for 3-5 minutes.  Place peaches on individual dessert plates.  Scoop reduced-fat vanilla ice cream on top of each peach half.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and granola.  Drizzle honey over the top.  Serve immediately.

What will you be serving for dessert this Father’s Day?  Will you use your “Eat This?” app to help you find the right ingredients?  Share with us, we want to know!



Filed under dessert, easy meals, Eat This?, Father's Day, Father's Day Dessert, fruit, gourmet, healthy food, homemade meals, low-fat, men, PICKKA, Recipes

Putting it on the Plate with PICKKA – Chicken Salsa Soup

Using mostly canned ingredients, this "homemade" Chicken Salsa Soup can be made in a flash.

Several years ago, I visited a good friend with my one year-old son to have a “play date” with her five month-old son.  I vividly remember those days of trying to balance work and family life while being pregnant with my second child.  To me, at the time, it was a big accomplishment if I could have the diaper bag stocked and ready-to-go; so, when I arrived to her home and saw that she had homemade soup cooking on the stove for our lunch I was in awe.  I thought, “How was she able to do it?”.  Her secret was that she used mostly canned products.

The recipe she gave me for her Chicken Salsa Soup is one that I still use to this day.  Over the years, I have tweaked it to make it healthier.  To make this last batch, I chose to use my Evincii/PICKKA “Eat This?” app for the iPhone to see just how well I was doing with my health makeover of the original recipe.  I entered in my health objectives and scanned the barcodes of the products.  For my cheese selection I fell in the “not too bad” category, and although I could have found a cheese brand that put me into the “very good choice” I decided to keep my original selection because I knew it would taste better.  I was happy to see that my salsa selection fell into the “very good choice” category.  After reviewing the comments of the “Eat This?” app for my product selections, I think my health makeover of the original recipe was a success.  The recipe is as follows:

Chicken Salsa Soup


2 12.5 ounce cans of premium chunk chicken, drained

2 10 3/4 ounce cans of reduced-fat cream of chicken soup

1 11 ounce can of corn niblets, drained

1 15 ounce can of black beans – drained and rinsed

1 16 ounce jar of salsa or picante sauce

2 cups of skim milk

1 small chopped yellow onion

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 TBS cumin

1 TBS lime juice

2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheese (chedder or mexican-style)


Combine all ingredients, except for the cheese, in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and add the cheese.  Stir frequently and cook until the cheese is melted.  Serve with whole-grain tortilla chips (Note: you may wish to garnish with extra shredded cheese, a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream, and chopped chives).


Filed under easy meals, Eat This?, healthy food, low-fat, PICKKA, Recipes, soup

Sweet and Savory Saturday

Fresh Rhubarb and plump raisins add sweet tang to this spice bread.

I love to bake, especially when I can get some of the ingredients fresh from my own garden.  I planted rhubarb last year with the intent to use it to make strawberry rhubarb pie.  But, when it grew back this year, I was in the mood for something else.  I thought that its use in a spice bread would compliment the flavorful undertone of this baked good. I also chose to add plump raisins to provide a sweet balance and textural interest.

I wanted my sweet bread to be on the healthier side, therefore, I chose to use unbleached whole-wheat white flour.  I used egg whites instead of whole eggs and chose to use only 1 TBS of canola oil, but added reduced-fat dried buttermilk powder to add a rich flavor.

Here is the recipe that I came up with:

Rhubarb Spice Bread with Raisins:


2 1/2 cups unbleached whole-wheat white flour

3/4 cup brown sugar (dark will provide or more robust flavor, light will give a milder taste)

1/4 cup reduced-fat dried buttermilk powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 TBS ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 TBS white sugar (to be used when boiling rhubarb)

1 TBS turbinado sugar (to be sprinkled on bread batter before placing in oven)

1 1/2 cups cut rhubarb

3/4 cup plump/large raisins

1 TBS canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup egg whites

1 1/4 cups water


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place cut rhubarb in a medium sauce pan and add just enough cold water to cover the rhubarb.  Add white sugar and cook on medium-high heat until the boiling point is reached.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.  Cream egg whites, brown sugar, and oil on low speed.  Add vanilla.  Add egg white mixture and 1 cup of water to the dry ingredients. Blend on low speed until just combined.  Fold in drained rhubarb and raisins. Place in well-greased (can use nonfat cooking spray) 9 inch loaf pan and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 25 minutes or until done.  Let cool on baking rack or serve warm.

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve as a breakfast bread with butter or margarine
  • Serve with lemon curd for a snack
  • Serve with a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for a nice dessert

Healthy, hearty snack

Great for breakfast or for dessert after dinner, this sweet bread tastes good any time.

Try this recipe then come back and let us know how it turned out!

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Filed under baked goods, healthy food, low-fat, Recipes, snacks, whole grains

Last Minute Dessert Idea for Memorial Day!

A store-bought angel food cake garnished with fresh raspberries and homemade icing is an easy, low-fat dessert option for Memorial Day.

Do you need a quick and easy dessert dish that is on the healthy side for Memorial Day?  Try this recipe using a store bought angel food cake, sliced almonds, and fresh raspberries.


1 store-bought angel food cake

1/2 pint (or enough for garnish) of fresh raspberries

1/4 cup sliced almonds

favorite homemade icing recipe (or use one below)


Remove angel food cake from carton and place upside down on a serving plate.  Drizzle icing over the top and down the sides of the cake.  Sprinkle sliced almonds on top of the cake.  Garnish the top and bottom of the cake with fresh raspberries.  Serve.                                                                            Yield: approximately 8 slices.

Quick Vanilla Icing Recipe

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 TBS corn starch

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 TBS vanilla

2-3 TBS boiling water

Combine sugar, corn starch, and cream of tartar in a medium-sized bowl.  Add vanilla.  Add boiling water, 1 TBS at a time, stirring in between additions until smooth.  Icing should be thick in consistency and slowly flow off of a spoon dipped in it and then lifted.


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Filed under fruit, healthy food, healthy picnic ideas, low-fat, Memorial Day, picnic recipes, Recipes

Sweet and Savory Saturday

Penne pasta with berries, basil, nuts, and bleu cheese is a great dish to bring to a Memorial Day Picnic Celebration.

Fresh berries, basil, penne pasta, chopped walnuts, and bleu cheese are the ingredients featured in today’s recipe for Sweet and Savory Saturday.  As the days get warmer, I prefer to eat meals that are lighter in taste and that do not require the use of my oven (which heats up the house).  A cold pasta dish, not laden with a heavy cream and/or cheese-based sauce, is perfect for warmer days.

One of my favorites includes a combination of fresh berries, basil, nuts, and crumbled cheese (just enough to add flavor without “weighing” down the dish).  This meal is easy to prepare and a great dish to pass around at a Memorial Day picnic gathering.


  • 2 1/2 cups of whole grain penne pasta (Tip: For picky palates, I like to mix the whole grain pasta with its more refined counterpart.  This gives it a milder taste,as well as, giving it visual interest due to the different colors between the two pasta products)
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1/3 cup fat-free raspberry vinaigrette (or to taste)
  • salt/pepper to taste (optional)


Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Place drained pasta into a bowl.  Add onion, blueberries, strawberries, and walnuts.  Toss to combine.  Gently mix in basil and blue cheese (so as to not crush the basil leaves and “smear” the bleu cheese – try to maintain the crumbled form).  Add salt and pepper and drizzle pasta with vinaigrette. Gently toss to allow vinaigrette to coat ingredients.  Serve with fresh sliced whole wheat bread.

Tip: Because of the high fat content of the walnuts and the blue cheese, you do not want to choose a salad dressing that is also high in fat.  A fat-free vinaigrette will provide flavor without the added calories from fat.  You may also substitute low-fat or non-fat shredded mozzarella cheese for the bleu cheese.

Do you have a favorite pasta dish?  How do you cut its fat content without compromising on taste?  Share with us, we want to know!


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Filed under fruit, health, healthy food, healthy picnic ideas, low-fat, Memorial Day, Memorial Day Meal, picnic, picnic recipes, Recipes, whole grains

Have a Happy and Healthy Picnic

Picnics and barbecues go hand-in-hand with the onset of warmer days.  Dining in the great outdoors can prove to be a wonderful experience, whether it’s in your own backyard or at a local park.  A time for fun, relaxation, and bonding between friends and/or family members, picnics and barbecues have an important role in a healthy lifestyle, especially if they also involve some form of physical activity (e.g., game of frisbee, walk along the beach, etc.,).  To make sure you have a happy and healthy one, there are some points that you should consider when planning your outdoor meal.  These include:

Serve Healthy Food:

  • Avoid marinades and sauces for meats, poultry and/or fish that have a high content of sugar, salt, and/or fat.  Use a no-salt dry rub instead.
  • Use a fat-free vinaigrette as the base for a coleslaw dish or to dress salads (rather than a high fat cream-based dressing). Or, make your own nonfat or low-fat “creamy” dressing by substituting nonfat or low-fat yogurt, sour cream and/or mayonnaise for the higher fat counterpart.
  • Add fresh herbs for flavor without the extra fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Make portion control easier by serving grilled kabobs with bite-sized pieces of vegetable, fruit, tofu, and/or lean meat or poultry.
  • Serve ice-cold water instead of sugar-laden beverages.  Add a slice of citrus fruit, such as lemon, for a touch of flavor.

Food Safety*

  • Keep cold food cold:  The temperature in the cooler used for transporting and storing the cold food until served should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.  To keep the food cold while it is being served, fill a large, deep container with ice and place serving dishes directly on the ice.
  • Keep hot food hot (at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit).  Keep in an insulated container until served.  If possible, place serving dishes on a warming tray when ready to eat.
  • Discard food (both cold and hot) if it has been sitting out for longer than 2 hours (after 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping dishes and utensils used to prepare raw meat, poultry, and fish separate from those used for cooked foods (or wash them in between uses).
  • Use separate coolers for beverages and cold perishables.  This way, the temperature of  your perishables won’t be at risk for falling into the “danger zone” as picnickers open and reopen the cooler lid to get their drinks.

Include Physical Activity: Picnics and barbecues provide a great opportunity for fun exercise.  Play a pick-up game of softball or just go for a walk in the woods with family.  The possibilities to burn a few extra calories are endless.

Picnic and barbecue celebrations are a great way to boost overall well-being.  They can lift your mood, foster social ties, offer a venue for healthy eating, and provide opportunities for physical activity.  Proper planning prior to your picnic or barbecue celebration will increase your chances of a happy and healthy one.

Do you have a favorite picnic or barbecue tradition?  What about a favorite picnic spot?  Share with us, we want to know!

*Information obtained from the Fight Bac! website.


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Filed under barbecue, food contamination, food safety, health, healthy food, healthy picnic ideas, low-fat, Memorial Day, picnic