Guiltless Blue Cheese Dip/Dressing


Healthy Blue Cheese Dressing

With summer quickly approaching, I’m doing my best to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor. I’ve been marinating chicken wings (yes, I’m baking them), and decided I wanted a blue cheese dip to accompany them this time, but know that packs a punch with fat and calories, so was on the hunt for a lighter recipe. I found quite a few using non-fat Greek yogurt, and went with the one I wanted to try, making a couple of modifications. I love that this is about half the calories of your traditional blue cheese dressing and the only fat comes from the blue cheese/gorgonzola. Blue cheese lovers rejoice!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  • Juice of 1/4 small lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Pinch onion powder
  • Drizzle of honey or agave

Directions

  1. Combine blue cheese, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Worcestershire and vinegar in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add all seasonings and a drizzle of agave or honey and stir well with a fork.
  3. Serve with chicken wings, your favorite salad, veggies, etc.

The thickness of the dressing will vary depending on the brand of Greek yogurt you use. If necessary, add water (one tablespoon at a time) and stir until dressing reaches desired consistency.

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BBQ Sauce


I came across Carla Hall’s BBQ Chicken recipe on The Chew’s website while I was searching for chicken dishes as I had some chicken thighs that needed to be made right away, put in the freezer or thrown out. The comments on the page said there were a few missing ingredients that were on the show, so I watched the video from that day, and Carla mentioned a few of them that weren’t listed. I decided to give it a try with the addition of those ingredients, in the amounts I thought suitable, and it turned out amazing! I absolutely love this sauce!

Ingredients

Jerk Chicken Rub:

  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tbsp. onion powder
  • ½ tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. salt

Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 2 tbsp. lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Jerk Chicken Rub

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together for the chicken rub in a small bowl.
  2. Mix all barbecue sauce ingredients (which includes 1 teaspoon jerk chicken rub made above) in a small pot and simmer over a low heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Adjust salt, if necessary.

I cooked my three chicken thighs (seasoned with salt & pepper) in a little extra virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes on each side, then transferred to a 350F oven for approximately another 10 minutes. Once cooked through, I removed from the oven & brushed the pieces with the barbecue sauce. 

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Cocktail Sauce


I recently bought some shrimp to make another batch of my (yummy) shrimp stew, and had about a dozen leftover, which immediately led to thoughts of devouring having shrimp cocktail. Then I realized, I didn’t have any cocktail sauce in the house, and figured I could just whip some up. After making this recipe, I probably won’t ever buy ready-made again! Oh, and I love that it takes about two minutes to make! Easy peasy!

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp. Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. chili sauce (I used Huy Fong chili garlic sauce since I had it on hand – original recipe calls for Heinz)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. prepared horseradish (or more if you want to increase the heat)
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten-Barefoot Contessa

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Italian Barbecued Chicken (with Polenta)


In my recent polenta post, I mentioned that I came across a BBQ chicken recipe from Rachael Ray which I intended on making soon, and decided to try it out last night. I made a few modifications like I normally do, and all I can say is… WOW! The sauce is truly delectable and really makes the dish. I took some to work today, and finished every single last bite! So if you like chicken, and want a delicious new way to make it, I highly suggest you try this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in chicken thigh and leg or chicken breasts 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp. grill seasoning
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 thick cut slices pancetta or bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce  
  • 1 cup tomato sauce 
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Torn fresh basil leaves
  • Polenta

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, poultry seasoning, and grill seasoning.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet and brown the chicken a few minutes on each side to put some of its flavor and drippings into the pan, then transfer to oven and roast 10 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, if using pancetta or bacon, add to pan, and cook until crisp. Remove from pan, crumble and set aside.
  5. If not using the meat, put one more tablespoon olive oil into pan, and add onions, garlic and rosemary. Cook 5 minutes, then add the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth.
  6. Reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer 5 minutes more.
  7. Remove chicken from oven, place in barbecue sauce, add bacon or pancetta (if using) and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Fill shallow bowls with polenta, top with chicken, spoon extra sauce over chicken and garnish with some torn basil leaves.

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New York Strip Steak (with Tarragon Melting Sauce)


When I’m in the mood for steak, I usually pick up beef tenderloin or tri tip, but the Smart & Final near my house only carries NY strips so I will occasionally grab one if I don’t feel like heading over to Trader Joe’s or Von’s (that’s rare, but it does happen). About a week ago, I got a NY Strip and was looking at various recipes to try something different, and came across one from Paula Deen that tickled my fancy, so decided to give it a whirl. The marinade is easy and quite tasty, and I plan to use it the next time I make a filet. As for the melting sauce, it was a nice compliment to the steak. In the event you didn’t know, I’m into sauces big-time, so was eager to taste this one. The recipe for it does yield a lot, even though I’ve already cut it in half…twice, and I only use a very small amount since it is butter-based (we know Paul Deen likes her butter), but it’s also great on baked potatoes and warm rolls.

NY Strip w/Tarragon Melting Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus oil for skillet
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 (1-inch thick) boneless New York strip steaks
  • Tarragon Melting Sauce, recipe follows

Directions

  1. In a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire and pepper. (I like to press a little salt & ground pepper onto the steaks before marinating).
  2. Add steaks to bag. Press the air out of the bag, and seal tightly. Turn the bag several times to distribute the marinade; place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.
  3. Heat a large oiled skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Remove steaks from marinade, discarding marinade.
  5. Place steaks in hot skillet; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or to the desired degree of doneness.
  6. Remove steaks to a serving plate, and keep warm.
  7. Top each steak with a teaspoon (or desired amount) of Tarragon Melting Sauce.

Tarragon Melting Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. green onion, minced 
  • 1/4 tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, minced (or 1/4 tsp. dried tarragon) – you could substitute rosemary
  • 1/4 tbsp. fresh parsley leaves, chopped (or 1/4 tsp. dried parsley)
  • 1/4 cup light or nonfat sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. In a bowl, add all ingredients together and mix until smooth. Cover, and refrigerate.

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