Skinny Stuffing

Today I decided to make a stuffing, a holiday favorite. The holidays are coming up, and there’s no better way to celebrate than food!

Here’s my recipe:

  • I cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 cups stale whole wheat bread, cubed
  • 3 cups Swanson low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups onions, diced
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley paste
  • 2 eggs
  • Badia complete seasoning to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dice the onions and apples and simmer them in the olive oil along with the parsley paste, complete seasoning, salt and pepper for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.


After the five minutes, add the three cups of chicken broth and cook on low heat until it comes to a simmer.


In a separate bowl, cube the bread into about one inch cubes. Beat the two eggs and add to the bread. I used my hands to mix the bread with the egg. It’s messier, but easier than mixing with a kitchen utensil.


Once the fruit, vegetables and broth have simmered, remove from heat and add the bread and egg mixture to the pot. This time I used a spatula because the mixture is so hot. Allow the bread to soak up all the liquid. Poor mixture into a greased pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes covered, and then another 30 minutes uncovered.


We cover the stuffing at first to cook it through, and then uncover it to make the top golden and crispy. Here’s what mine looked like:


The original recipe from the food network offers many different variations, and I just used what happened to be in my kitchen. In this recipe, I replaced the butter with olive oil and the white bread with whole wheat bread. These changes use less harmful fats and less processed ingredients, making a healthier dish.

Amanda Kastrinos, a 20-year-old junior public relations major, said she liked how the sweet flavor of the apple worked with the saltiness of the stuffing. Ansley Walker, a 22-year old senior English major, said she would love to bring this recipe home for Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone has a great and delicious Thanksgiving!

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cream-free Mashed Potatoes

Hey y’all! This week I made mashed potatoes. I know cream and milk products upset a lot of people’s stomachs, including my mom’s, so I wanted to make simple mashed potatoes that everyone could enjoy.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 baking potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Swanson low sodium chicken broth, enough to cover potatoes in pan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Fage Greek yogurt

Wash, peel, and chunk the potatoes into about one inch thick pieces. Place in a sauce pan and pour in just enough chicken broth to cover the potatoes.


Peel three cloves of garlic and add to the pot, along with some salt and pepper. Cook on low to medium heat until the broth reaches a simmer. Be careful not to let the heat get too high, you don’t want to overcook the potatoes.

Once the potatoes reach a simmer, cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork, they’re done. Drain the liquid from the potatoes and place in a separate bowl.


While mixing, I used an electric mixer, gradually add the liquid back into the potatoes until you achieve the consistency you desire. I didn’t use all the liquid, so make sure you don’t pour it in all at once! I also added 1/4 cup Greek yogurt to make the potatoes a little creamier.


An idea I might use for next time is to add a packet of Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix to the potatoes to make ranch potatoes. That’s a quick and easy way to make a regular dish special.

I downsized the recipe from Alton Brown’s, replaced the half-and-half with low sodium chicken broth, left out the Parmesan, and added the Fage Greek yogurt. Not only did the yogurt add protein, but it made the potatoes creamy and smooth. This dish could also easily be made without the yogurt to appease even the most sensitive of stomachs.

Chelsea Weiner, a 20-year-old zoology major, said they were creamy as if they had sour cream in them, and Kelly Larson a 21-year-old English major, said she would definitely replace her regular mashed potatoes with these.

Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi everyone! This week I made a crowd-pleasing favorite: chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s my recipe:

  • 10 ounces Ghirardelli 60% cacao baking chips (one bag)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, applesauce, and agave nectar until well combined.


Add in vanilla and eggs, one at a time until mixed.


Gradually add in the mixture of flour, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients.


If your mixture isn’t as thick as you’d like, add a little flour at a time until it reaches the consistency you would like. I added about 1/8 cup more flour to my mixture. Spoon mixture onto baking sheets. I cover my baking sheets with foil to make cleaning up super fast. Just remove the foil and your baking sheets are clean.


Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes or until golden brown. They should look something like this:


I always bake or cook my dishes for a shorter time than is required. Food can always be cooked longer, but it’s pretty difficult to reverse the cooking process.

My recipe replaced semi-sweet chocolate chips with a darker chocolate chip, butter with applesauce, white sugar with agave nectar and flour with whole wheat flour. These substitutes increase the antioxidants decrease the processed foods in the dish. Here’s the original recipe if you’re every having a super sugar craving!

The applesauce made the cookies just the right amount of chewy, and the 60% cacao baking chips add a great flavor. Kendall Tonyan, a 20-year-old accounting major said she really liked how the applesauce made them a little chewier. Candace O’Neill, a 20-year-old dietetics major, said although she’s never had applesauce in cookies, she really enjoyed them.

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Healthier Apple Crisp

This week I wanted to incorporate a little bit of fall flavor into my dish since it’s finally getting cooler outside. My apple crisp is full of apples and cinnamon, the perfect combination for fall.

Here’s my recipe:

For the first topping:

  • 10 cups apples, sliced and cored
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

For the second topping:

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup Bear Naked maple pecan granola, plus extra for topping
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Wash, core, and slice the apples. Try to make each one about 1/4 of an inch thick.


Spread your apples evenly in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Drizzle the agave nectar on top of the apples and combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Top the apples with the mixture.


In a separate bowl combine the oats, granola, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, agave nectar and applesauce. Pour your second mixture on top of the first mixture. Make sure you don’t mix or stir anything once it’s in the baking dish! Top your dish with the cinnamon, cloves, and a sprinkling of granola to add an extra crunch.


Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until the crisp is bubbly and the top has browned a bit.


My recipe replaced the white sugar with brown sugar and agave nectar, 1/2 cup oats with 1/2 cup of granola to make the crisp extra crunchy, white flour with whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar with the agave nectar and butter with applesauce.

The final product was still sweet and crispy, yet wasn’t as high in fat or calories as the original. Amanda Kastrinos, a 20-year-old public relations major, said she liked the flavor from the skin on the apples. Grace Engle, an 18-year-old biology major, said the flavors were perfect for fall.

Have a great week!

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip

Hey everyone! In honor of UF’s first night home game since 2011, I decided to make a tailgating favorite a little healthier. This dip is a little spicy, so make sure all your tailGATORS know!

Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup Fage Greek yogurt
  • 4 ounces neufchâtel
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 packet Hidden Valley ranch seasoning
  • 1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the ranch powder to the Greek yogurt so the flavors can meld a bit.


Mix the neufchâtel and the Greek yogurt in the bottom of a baking dish.


Add in the gorgonzola, hot sauce, chicken and sharp cheddar.


Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


The dip will bubble when done.

If you’re not a huge fan of spicy food, I would cut the amount of hot sauce down to a 1/4 cup. That way you still get the flavor of the buffalo sauce, but without too much spice.

In this recipe, I replaced the 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of ranch with 4 ounces of neufchâtel, which has 1/3 less fat, and Fage Greek yogurt, which has 23 grams of protein per cup. I also used reduced fat gorgonzola and sharp cheddar, which is another easy way to keep the fat down in this recipe. As always, here’s the original recipe from the Food Network if you ever have a serious craving for cream cheese.

William Lane, 22, an agricultural operations management major, couldn’t believe it wasn’t the original recipe, and Bridget Anderson, 20, a public relations major, could see her family making this at their next tailgate.

This recipe is so simple, I would definitely recommend it for any game day! Go Gators!

Posted in Cooking | Tagged | 1 Comment

Protein-Packed Chicken Alfredo Bake

Hey guys! This week I decided to make one of my favorites, chicken alfredo, just a little healthier. I found the original recipe from a fellow food blogger, Life in the Lofthouse, and made a few simple adjustments.

Here’s my recipe:

  • 16 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 8 ounces frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus extra to top
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Fage Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil for the skillet

Cook the pasta as per the directions on the box, drain and set aside. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta in, sauté the garlic on low heat until lightly browned and then add the chicken broth and skim milk. After bringing the liquids to a simmer, add your Greek yogurt and ricotta cheese. Mix until blended, and then add your mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.


Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens a bit and all the cheeses melt.


Lower the heat, and add in the cooked pasta, chicken, broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.


Fold the ingredients together and let sit on the low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. This lets all the flavors of the ingredients meld together.


Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish, and top with the extra parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly.


My recipe replaced regular pasta with whole wheat pasta, and I also made my own cream sauce using the chicken broth, skim milk, and part-skim cheeses instead of using the jar of alfredo. I also replaced the sour cream with Greek yogurt, and only used half the amount. Next time I will probably use the whole cup to make my sauce a little thicker, especially because Fage has 23 grams of protein per cup! Check out Holly’s recipe if you ever get a serious cream craving.

The final product turned out great! All of my taste-testers approved. Chelsea Weiner, 20, a zoology major, said it was something that she would definitely make for herself, and Peyton Dole, 19, a criminology major, said she could see herself eating this at a restaurant.

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthier Pumpkin Pancakes

Hey y’all! Since the first day of fall was this week, I added a little fall flavor to this dish and decided on pumpkin pancakes. I scoured the internet to find the best recipe, and Martha Stewart, no surprise, was my top pick. I made some substitutions to her recipe to make it as healthy as possible, still keeping the delicious flavor of the pumpkin intact.

Here’s my recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 can Libby’s pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1 egg white
  • Extra virgin olive oil for the skillet

Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the almond milk, pumpkin, agave nectar, applesauce, and egg white together using a whisk or mixer.


Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients using a spatula.


Continue until everything is combined.


My batter was a little thick, so I added a little more almond milk to thin it out a bit.

Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil onto the skillet and let it warm up. Once the batter is completely mixed together, spoon it onto the warm skillet, cooking about 2-3 minutes per side.



A little trick I learned from my dad is to place a plate in a 170-degree oven to keep all the pancakes warm until you’re done cooking all of them. That way, they stay hot and fresh until you’re ready to serve them!

They should look a little something like this:


I added more pumpkin than what the recipe called for, and although it did make the pancakes a little thicker, the flavor is definitely worth it. Remember that cooking is a learning experience!

I topped them off with some maple syrup, but a little goes a long way here, and this will really increase the sweetness of the dish.

My recipe replaced whole wheat unbleached flour for flour, almond milk for milk, Agave Nectar for sugar, applesauce for butter, and an egg white for an egg. These small substitutions make a world of difference in decreasing the chemicals, cholesterol and fat that the original dish had, but here’s Martha Stewart’s original recipe if you’re ever feeling naughty.

I enlisted some of my friends to be my guinea pigs. Candace O’Neill, 20, a dietetics major, said that they tasted like pumpkin pie, and Amanda Kastrinos, 20, a public relations major, thought they made the perfect fall breakfast.

I’d definitely say these pancakes were a hit! Happy fall!

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment