Just A Pinch

-compiled by Teresa Vinson-salt shake just a pinch

If you are like me, every year I make a new year’s resolution to lose a few pounds. This year I made that same commitment and am actually succeeding. I have found a few light and tasty recipes that my entire family will eat. I will share these as well as some tried and true traditional ones. After all you have to indulge every once in a while.

Lighten Up Pizza

I saw this on Facebook and changed it a little. It is delicious, and if you cut into 12 pieces, each piece only has 100 calories. I have made it several times.

  • 1 package filo dough, room temperature
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • ½ cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • ½ cup green pepper chopped
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Slice the tomatoes thin. Place on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Leave them there for 10 minutes to drain some of the liquid off. Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with Pam, and place one layer of the filo dough. Spray again with Pam, and continue the process until you have 8 layers. Layer the tomatoes over the dough. Place the chopped onions, peppers and olives in a bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix. Sprinkle this mixture over the tomatoes. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.   Slice into 8 slices and serve immediately.

One Pan Balsamic Chicken

This is an easy dinner to whip us that’s healthy and delicious.

  • ¼ cup Italian salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ¼ pounds chicken breast tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed of tough ends, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Mix together dressing, balsamic vinegar, and honey in a measuring cup. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms for 4 minutes until they have started to brown. Then add the green beans and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the green beans are crisp-tender. I covered mine while cooking to make them tender. Remove the vegetables from the pan. Add the remaining oil and the chicken tenders. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until brown on each side. Remove from the pan. Add in the sauce and stir for a couple of minutes until thickened into a glaze consistency. Add the chicken, green beans, and mushrooms back into the pan, and add the tomatoes. Stir to coat everything evenly with the sauce.

Spaghetti Squash Enchilada Boats

  • 2 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/3 cups enchilada sauce or spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup part-skin shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Chopped cilantro and scallions for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Brush the inside of the squash with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash face down on the baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the flesh easily pierces with a fork. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the inside so the strands appear. Spoon enchilada sauce mixture inside each squash bowl until almost full. Top evenly with the cheese. Transfer them to the oven and bake another 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and sauce is hot. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cilantro and scallions and serve immediately.

Roasted Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts and Cherry Tomatoes

These fresh veggies are such a nice twist to serve in the winter months. They are brightly colored, delicious and will give you a taste of spring.

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, with tough ends removed
  • 1 package of fresh Brussels sprouts from the fresh produce section. (I bought the ones in their own cooking bag).
  • 1 box cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook Brussels sprouts according to package directions adding 1 tablespoon butter and some seasoned salt for flavor. The directions say microwave 5 minutes, and that is what I did.

In the meantime, place asparagus on a baking pan that has been lined with foil. Sprinkle with olive oil and kosher salt. Roast for 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Remove from oven, and add cherry tomatoes that have been cut in half. Along the bottom of the roasting sheet, place the Brussels sprouts that have been microwaved for 5 minutes. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Pour the Balsamic dressing over the vegetables, and return to the hot oven for an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately. These are delicious.

Old South Coca-Cola Pork Loin

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, crushed
  • 5 pounds pork loin roast, boned

Combine all the ingredients except for the meat to form a marinade. Set the pork roast in a large plastic bag with a zip-type seal. Pour in the marinade and seal the bag. Set the plastic bag in a serving bowl large enough to steady the roast and keep the marinade ingredients from spreading away from the roast.

Let stand for 24 hours or overnight in the refrigerator, patting and turning the bag several times to ensure the meat marinates evenly.

Remove roast and discard marinade. Place roast, fat side up on rack in roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so the bulb is centered in the thickest part. Do not add water. Do not cover. Roast in a slow oven at 250-275 degrees. This slow roasting makes the meat more tender. Use your meat thermometer or whatever means you like to achieve desired doneness (medium is 155 degrees).

Coca-Cola Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup Coca-Cola
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together all ingredients in sauce pan; simmer and stir to thicken. Brush or spoon glaze on meat frequently during cooking. You can also serve any remaining sauce with the sliced pork if you like.

Sugar Free Jell-O Salad

  • 1 large package of sugar free strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 cups of sliced frozen strawberries
  • 2 bananas sliced, sprinkled with Fruit Fresh (so they won’t turn dark in your salad)

Dissolve Jell-O in 2 cups of hot water, add frozen strawberries and stir well, add sliced bananas and refrigerate until jelled.

Low Calorie Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

  • 1 Healthy Life 80 calorie multi-grain English muffin
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar free jelly

Toast English muffin in toaster until slightly brown. While hot, spread with peanut butter and jelly. Serve immediately. The peanut butter has 190 calories. The muffin has 80, and the jelly has 10. You can eat both sides for 280 calories, or one for 140 calories.   This is one of my favorite lite meals.

A Light Egg, Cheese and Canadian Bacon Sandwich

  • 1 Healthy Life 80 calorie multi-grain English muffin
  • 1 slice of Canadian bacon
  • 1 slice of 50 calorie cheese
  • 1 egg, cooked until your desired degree of doneness. Can be fried, poached or scrambled.

Toast muffin. Heat Canadian bacon in skillet, then cook egg in skillet until desired degree of doneness. Assemble and serve immediately.

Red Velvet Cookies

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil

Mix all ingredients. Scoop into small round balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers or the bottom of a glass. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. These are delicious and you can change the flavor by changing the flavor of the cake mix. Lemon is very good; just add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the batter.