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This Thanksgiving, us Blended Kitchen girls had a lot to be thankful for: good friends, a loving family, Sara’s cranberry relish and elastic waist pants (yeah, we broke those out after our feasts!) After our gluttonous past week, we felt our faces get fatter, our butts get bigger (was that possible?) and our guts grow. Bottom line? It’s time for our pre-Christmas cleanse, filled with healthy fruits and veggies and lean recipes from Cooking Light.

This week, we’ve lightened it up with Cooking Light‘s home-style meatloaf that tastes just as good as mom used to make, with a mere 242 calories per serving. We paired the meatloaf with Cindy’s Cracker Barrel brown sugar carrots and garlicky roasted asparagus from Emeril Lagasse. For a light but sweet after-dinner treat, we whipped up an easy lemon cream to top some fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. If you’re looking for a meal to keep you satisfied (but still skinny), this is the one!

Home-Style Meatloaf Cooking Light | 1988
As soon as winter weather arrives, we crave our comfort foods. There’s nothing better than a hot and hearty meal to warm your insides on a cold night… unless it’s a lighter version! Cooking Light has updated this classic comfort food to be friendlier to our waistlines without sacrificing the rich flavors we love. If you want, you can make the meatloaf mixture ahead of time for convenience. The meatloaf is also super kid-friendly – we made meatloaf sliders with a little slice of cheese for the Nugget and he chowed down! This recipe makes approximately six servings.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup ketchup, divided
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup minced fresh onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (we used dried parsley and it tasted fantastic!)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds ground round
Cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, oats, and next 6 ingredients (oats through egg whites) in a large bowl.

Add meat; stir just until blended.

Shape meat mixture into an 8 x 4-inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.

A nugget of meatloaf.

Brush 1/4 cup ketchup over meat loaf.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

This is how the meatloaf should look after it's been baked.

Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Healthy has never looked so good.

How do you get your kids to eat meatloaf? Easy – just add a slice of cheese and turn it into a meatloaf slider. The Nugget loved this!

Cindy’s Cracker Barrel Brown Sugar Carrots
Call us hoosiers, but we are Cracker Barrel addicts and aren’t embarrassed to admit it. Cindy absolutely loves the carrots at Cracker Barrel, so she decided to make them at home. If possible, Cindy’s carrots are even better than Cracker Barrel’s – they’re sweet, tender and the perfect addition to any home-cooked meal. And on top of that, they are insanely easy to make. When we’re not trying to be healthy, Cindy adds a little more butter (yum!) and a little more brown sugar (yummier!) to make the carrots sweeter. For our pre-Christmas cleanse, however, we wanted to keep it light, so she scaled back on the good unhealthy stuff. This recipe serves four, with a few carrots left over to snack on.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs of carrots, peeled and cut into whatever size and shape
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions:
Wash and peel carrots. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

We cut our carrots into little nubs.

Place carrots in sauce pan or a large skillet, barely covering them with water.

Place a lid on the pan and boil/steam the carrots until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the water. Return the carrots to the pan and place on low to medium heat. Add butter and brown sugar and cook until caramelized ( maybe 5 minutes.) Serve hot.

Add butter.

Add brown sugar. Mmmm.

Brown sugar and butter glazed carrots. Get in my belly!

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus Emeril Lagasse | 2003
If you’re trying to be healthy, you have to have a little something green on your plate, right? In the Blended Kitchen household, one of our favorite green veggies is fresh asparagus. In the summer, we like to put it on the grill until it’s nice and wilted. In the winter, when it’s too cold to grill outside, this recipe is perfect. And, as Emeril would say, the garlic really kicks it up a notch. While this recipe was pretty light to begin with, we used less oil than the recipe called for to help us watch our waistlines. We halved the amount of asparagus to make just enough for six people and instead of using a glass pan, we lined a cookie tray with foil to make cleanup easy. We also forgot lemon juice (oops!) but Lindsey would still have eaten the entire pan of asparagus without it.

Ingredients:
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (we used 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (we used 2 large garlic cloves)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine garlic and olive oil in small bowl.

Place asparagus in a large glass baking dish (or a foil-lined cookie sheet.)

Brush asparagus with garlic and olive oil mixture.

Season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss. Bake until the asparagus are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the stalks, stirring twice.

Remove from the oven and toss with the lemon juice (if you want…) Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Berries with Lemon Cream Eating Well | Spring 2003
Even though we’re trying to watch our weight after stuffing our faces on Thanksgiving, we still crave something to satisfy our sweet tooth after dinner. These berries with lemon cream are the perfect sweet treat for those days when you’re dieting. It’s made with reduced fat cream cheese and fat free yogurt, so it’s nice and light. It also takes just 5 minutes to make, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth in a snap!

This recipe also works great for brunch – pair it with berries and a scone and you’re good to go. In the summer, try pairing blueberries and peaches with the cream. You won’t regret it!

Ingredients:
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchatel) at room temperature
3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (we like Dannon Light & Fit in Vanilla)
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 cups fresh blueberries (or whatever berries you like)

Four ingredients. That's it.

Directions:
Using a fork, break up cream cheese in a medium bowl. Drain off any liquid from the yogurt; add yogurt to the bowl along with honey. Using an electric mixer, beat at high speed until light and creamy. Stir in lemon zest.

Layer the lemon cream and blueberries in dessert dishes or wineglasses. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Fresh berries are so good (and good for you!)

Looks almost as good as it tastes...

Nom. nom. nom.