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Be My Fat-Free Valentine 2017!


Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar served with cucumber slices and pretzel chips

Did you know that over one million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year? That amount of cards is only second to those sent at Christmastime! Wow that’s a whole bunch of love being passed around!

You can also pass around this heart-healthy nosh, and it is the perfect recipe for a romantic fireside picnic with your special someone.  Check this out, get some inspiration from Sue at “a purdy little house”. Doesn’t that look cozy and inviting? Great job, Sue, we love this!

Solo this Valentine’s Day?  Treat yourself right, be your own Valentine and get some “me time”. Invite a solo friend or two for cocktails and appetizers. Valentine’s Day is not just for couples, it can be a celebration of all kinds of love! Find some more ideas for Valentine’s picnics by just doing a Google search which produced ideas like this one below.  Lots of ideas on the web for inspiration!

valentine-family-picnic

Valentine’s Day Indoor Family Picnic Ideas

Cranberries are the perfect color for Valentine’s Day, and are also an excellent source of nutrition. Cranberries contain Vitamin C and an array of  phytonutrients which include anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer properties. All good reasons to include cranberries in your diet.

My favorite low-fat pretzel to use for this easy recipe is by The Snack Factory, check out all of their delicious flavor options. Crisp cucumber slices are perfect too, so refreshing and light! Pick you favorite cracker, or perhaps some melba toast. Have fun, use your imagination, and comment below to let us know what accompanied your caviar!

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Cranberry Feta Caviar

  • Fresh or canned whole berry cranberry sauce (not jellied)
  • Fat-Free Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper (not pre-ground)
  • One of the following of your choice, chopped fresh or dried: Thyme, Oregano, or Cilantro

Layer in the order listed above, as shown in photos, in amounts according to your liking, onto a serving dish or onto individual crackers, pretzels, or sliced cucumbers. Now enjoy!

Cranberry Feta Appetizer wlogo1

That’s all there is to it! My favorite choice for herb is dried thyme, and I like lots of ground pepper too…so yum!

Remember to celebrate love and life to the fullest, be kind to your heart with healthy food and lifestyle choices!

Make it a Beautiful Day!

Epicuriously yours,

Melinda

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Fat-Free Pumpkin Pie Cookies…and Pancakes too!


img_1732Pumpkin Pie Cookies…and pancakes too… it’s a two-fer!

Thanksgiving again?! This year went by quickly! Hope ya’ll had a good one!

I am in the middle of a huge remodel/building project so you haven’t seen me for a while, so time to make an appearance for the holidays.

In need of some quickie recipes? They do not get much quicker than this! A box of spice cake mixed with a can of pumpkin and you are good to go for pancakes or cookies. Who doesn’t love either of those?

It started on a Sunday while I was left unattended with a can of pumpkin. I poked through the boxes in my pantry and found the spice cake mix. I dumped them both into the mixer bowl. Blinded by the shiny stainless bowl I thought, “just add egg beaters”. I did not know what I was making…that happens a lot.

After mixing, I had to select a pan. Hmmm…cookie sheet! Out came the raw sugar, a little sprinkle on top then into the oven and when it came out, “oh my pumpkin pie”!

I experimented with other “sprinkles”; brown sugar, cinnamon sugar, but decided I liked the raw sugar best. Try all three toppings, then pick your favorite. As you have read, I am always down for a good cooking experiment!

When testing, I never cook the entire batch – this is how the pancakes were born. Since the first and second batch of cookies were thumbs up, I had left over cookie dough…hmmm…eat with a spoon or try something else? I added some water and boom, onto a hot griddle…

…there you have it, the birth of the Thanksgiving recipe two-fer, cookies and pancakes!

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Fat free Pumpkin Pie Pancakes ready to take off the griddle and serve!

 

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The Fat Free Gourmet’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Here’s your tweaks:

♥ This is a great recipe to cook for two – split the cookie dough, add half the amount of water listed in the full recipe to half the cookie dough to make pancakes, bake the other half as cookies. Both freeze and reheat well.

♥ Add additional water to make a thinner pancake batter to make crepes. Fill with a mixture of fat-free Cool Whip, fat-free cream cheese, and fat-free Ricotta cheese, flavor with vanilla and sugar to taste.

 

Let’s make ‘em!

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies

1 – 15.25 oz. box spice cake mix

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

½ cup egg substitute

Raw sugar (my fav), brown sugar, or cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Dump the first 3 ingredients into a mixing bowl. By hand or with electric mixer, stir until dough is smooth.
  3. Drop by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. I use silicone sheet liners, spray sparingly or omit if using those
  4. Sprinkle with desired sugar topping (raw, brow, cinnamon sugar mix)
  5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until set.

Makes 36 cookies.

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Pumpkin Pie Cookies baking with a brown sugar topping

 

Nutritional Data
36 Servings
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 50.5
Total Fat 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 96.1 mg
Potassium 12.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 5.4 g
Protein 1.1 g

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Tastes soooo perfect with maple syrup. Makes a beautiful holiday breakfast!!

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Pumpkin Pie Pancakes with fat free whipped cream, maple syrup, and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice

 

Same recipe as above with these additions or exceptions:

  1. Preheat griddle to med high.
  2. Add 1 1/3 cups water to the mix to make batter.
  3. Ladle approximately ¼ cup of batter onto a griddle sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Cook each side to golden brown. Serve warm with maple syrup. Fat free whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice optional.

Makes 24 pancakes.

Nutritional Data
24 servings
One pancake:
Calories 75.8
Total Fat 0.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 144.1 mg
Potassium 18.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Sugars 8.1 g
Protein 1.7 g

As always, Peeps, Have an awesome holiday season and stay epicurious!

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Enjoy!!

*Recipe Nutritional data calculated by SparkRecipes.  https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

Visit me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or at my website: http://www.thefatfreegourmet.com

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The Fat Free Gourmet’s Zucchini and Corn Flakes — or How big is too big?



Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

A fat-free recipe for medium garden grown zucchini, 
or other vegetable of your heart’s desire!

Ahhh zucchini.

You can stuff them, steam them, sauté them, even eat them raw! They are a low-calorie vegetable that will take on the flavor, be it sweet or savory, of whatever you choose to mix with them.

Garden grown zucchini present a special challenge…size – it really does matter.

Young tender 6 to 7-inch zucchini squash are perfect for steaming or sauté, 8 to 10-inch are great for stuffing. If you allow them to grow  larger, they become a problem: the skin is tough, the flavor is strong, and they tend to be a little bitter. Typically, zucchini larger than 10 inches go to what I call, “grated recipe” status; I use them in breads, fritters, cookies, salads. But, oh those seeds, what to do with them, they definitely must go!

This year’s garden provided an overabundance of larger zucchini nearing the end of the growing season due to my waning  attention. With a glass of Moscato wine in one hand, and a 14-inch long zucchini in the other, I decided to do something daring…

I laid it on the counter. There it was, in front me, about 2 inches in diameter. What to do with it? I grabbed my knife and hesitantly sliced it in half. (Now, here is where it gets tricky: how big are the darn seeds?!) Hmmm, I inspected. This one had smallish seeds, and so I finished the slicing of it.  I continued into ½ inch thick round slices. Not holding anything back, I spontaneously moved forward with a recipe I had been flirting with for quite some time!

You don’t really need a certain sized zucchini for this recipe, not a giant, smaller is better. Suffice it to say, my 14-incher turned out cravingly well even though it was a slightly larger sized zucchini than I would have normally chosen to use.

Here comes the fun part of this recipe: the tweaks! Those fun creative touches that will make this recipe your own. I am all about experimenting and trying new things! Looking forward to hearing what tweaks you did and the results. Try some of these and create a cravable new favorite!

  • Use any sized zucchini except a giant, and cut it into any shape you like, you may have to adjust cooking time for smaller or larger sized pieces.
  • Use any vegetable you like, simply adjust the cooking time for the density of the vegetable. For instance, potatoes and cauliflower may take a little longer cooking time to achieve the desired tenderness.
  • Serve as an appetizer, a side to your favorite main dish, or as a main dish if you are doing vegetarian.
  • Change up the ethnicity! Add different spices to the egg or the breading mix, your choice, let you imagination go wild! (I like to season both mixtures to give ‘two layers of flavor”.)
  • Serve with a sauce and garnish! Fat-Free Ginger Sesame Dressing (Lighthouse Sesame Ginger Dressing is one of my favorite!) or a few dashes of soy sauce for Asian; with fat-free pasta sauce for Italian, with traditional fat-free Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing for game day festivities, or make up your own low-fat or fat-free sauce! You can even top them with a few sprinkles of fat-free cheese for the last minute of baking in the oven. Pictured are Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce, a dollop of spicy mustard, and sprinkle of cilantro; also pictured with fat-free ranch or blue cheese dressing.
  • Marinate the zucchini before you bread them for another layer of flavor. A 20 minute soak in your favorite marinade would do the trick. How about soy sauce mixed with seasoned rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, or perhaps balsamic vinegar with a dash of garlic. Dill pickle juice for that “fried pickle” flavor!

Here’s the basic recipe:

1 14-inch long by 2 inch in diameter zucchini, cut ½ inch in thickness, or equivalent vegetable, cut accordingly

1 ½ cups fat-free egg substitute
1 teaspoon onion powder

1 ½ cups Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs or finely crushed (see photos) corn flakes
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Salt to taste
(add 1 tablespoon of grated low-fat parmesan topping to this mixture if desired)

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with a light coating of fat-free cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut vegetables, set aside.
In a shallow bowl mix together egg substitute and onion powder, set aside.

Egg wash for Fat-Free Baked Zucchini and Corn Flakes

Beaten egg and onion powder. Add other spices to the wash for an extra layer of flavor!

In another shallow bowl mix together the last four ingredients, set aside.

Corn flake dredge

Corn flake breading mixture…yum!

Set up your breading prep area; from right to left or left to right whichever is most comfortable for you. Set up in a line with vegetables first, egg mixture second, corn flake crumb mixture, then baking pan. First dip vegetables into the egg mix using only your left or right hand, next into the corn flakes using the opposite hand, then place onto baking sheet. This method is the best way to keep your hands from getting “breaded”!

Prep area set up

Set up for prep area, start from the side most comfortable for you.

Zucchini in pan ready to bake.

Ready to bake!

Bake for 30 minutes or until desired color is reached, and vegetables are fork tender. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Baked corn flake encrusted zucchini fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

Can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.

(Yum, I just devoured some of the photo shoot left-overs from yesterday!)

Serve with the sauce and garnish of your choice.

 

Nutritional Data
6 servings, zucchini only, no garnish or sauce
Amount per serving:

Calories 127.8
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 282.9 mg
Potassium 321.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 8.6 g

Enjoy!

Fat-Free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce and hot mustard.

Fat-free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili sauce and spicy mustard.

Let me know how your “tweaks” turned out! Leave your comments below or on any of my social media haunts! I welcome everyone to share their ideas and results!

Hope you and yours are looking forward to a loving holiday season! I will be publishing the “Pumpkin Spice Latte Gelato” recipe soon, so be on the lookout!

 

 

Epicuriously yours,
Melinda

Eliminate the excess – eat to live! ❤

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Be My Fat-Free Valentine with Cranberry Feta Caviar!


Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar served with cucumber slices and pretzel chips

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar

Valentine’s Day is another reason to stay healthy for your loved ones – they need you!

Another holiday that centers around calories, but then what holiday doesn’t? Go for the right kind of calories and start out your special feast with a tasty, fat-free appetizer that is so very easy to make, it will be ready to serve in minutes! This heart-healthy nosh is perfect for a Valentine’s Day picnic anywhere: floor, snow cave, or bedroom! (wink-wink!)
Cranberries can be served year-round, and they are the perfect color for this holiday! If no one is available with whom you can celebrate this year, please treat yourself right, be your own Valentine and make this just for you! The health benefits of Cranberries are substantial, so go for it!

Serve this easy starter on low-fat pretzel crisps; pictured are the Snack Factory’s, Honey Mustard & Onion flavored pretzel crisps. Crisp cucumber slices are perfect too, so refreshing and light! Pick you favorite cracker, or perhaps some melba toast. Have fun, use your imagination, and comment below to let us know what accompanied your caviar!

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar

Perfect for a picnic in the forest or an afternoon tea, Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar is a quick prep for unexpected guests!

FFG’s Cranberry Feta Caviar

  • Fresh or canned whole berry cranberry sauce (not jellied)
  • Fat-free feta cheese crumbles
  • Freshly ground black pepper (not pre-ground)
  • One of the following of your choice, chopped fresh or dried: Thyme, Oregano, or Cilantro

Layer in the order listed above, as shown in photos, in amounts according to your liking, onto a serving dish or onto individual crackers, pretzels, or sliced cucumbers. Now enjoy!

Cranberry Feta Appetizer wlogo1

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Cranberry Feta Caviar

That’s all there is to it! My favorite choice for herb is dried thyme, and I like lots of ground pepper…so yum!

Remember to celebrate love and life to the fullest, and be kind to your heart with healthy food and lifestyle!

Epicuriously yours,
Melinda ❤

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A Happy New Year to All!


Last day of the year, make it a great one!

2015

May all your Epicurious dreams come true,

Melinda

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Fat Free Butternut Spinach Soufflé Muffins


 

Original recipe from Melissa Placzek at www.ChinDeep.com

…tweaked to fat-free by Melinda Perino Bebb, The Fat Free Gourmet

Butternut Muffins on cooling rack

…just out of the oven and onto the cooling rack…I’m drooling!

Okay, first let me start by saying that Melissa has an awesome website! She writes and shares ideas about everything I love, especially FOOD!  From crafts to photography, gift ideas to homemade bath salts, what to put on your iPod or in your tea – I know she has an awesome idea for you…she calls them ‘simple pleasures’.  Please visit her on Facebook, or on her website, she will not disappoint!

I found her recipe while perusing or, as my daughter would call it “stalking”, one of my Facebook ‘likes’ pages.  Her recipe stood out as good fat-free candidate and it is!  Flavorful and healthy ingredients make these muffins hard to resist, and they smell…so…Italian!!!

Thanks for sharing Melissa and I hope you don’t mind that I tweaked it for those of us cutting the fat!  My heart thanks you!

Here is the recipe:

This recipe bakes 12 lovely muffins, in either a regular sized pan or a large-sized muffin pan, the difference being the height of the muffin, both sizes are shown in the pictures.  Both sizes cooked beautifully in just 20 minutes.  I did not use liners, just cooking spray, and the muffins came out clean, no sticking.

Steaming the Butternut Squash...oh yeah, I snitched a few pieces...mmmm!

Steaming the Butternut Squash…oh yeah, I snitched a few pieces…mmmm!

2 cups steamed, cubed, butternut squash (a 2.5 to 3 lb squash will yield approximately 5 to 6 cups)

3/4 cup 1% buttermilk

½ cup fat-free egg substitute

1 cup chopped spinach

1 1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 teaspoon minced garlic

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons parmesan herb seasoning (you can find it in the spice isle of you grocery store)

1 tablespoon dry Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

 

Cooking spray

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix by hand the first eight wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl, blend the remaining dry ingredients.  Add wet to dry stirring until just evenly incorporated and moist.

Spray muffin tin(s) generously with cooking spray.

Spoon the muffin batter into the cups.  Sprinkle the tops with a little more cubed squash, feta, salt, and pepper.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until set and a toothpick comes clean when inserted in center of a muffin.  Remove from oven.  When cool enough to handle transfer muffins to cooling rack.  Serve warm.  Store the muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: Cool completely before putting into airtight container

Butternut Spinach Souffle Muffins

Butternut Spinach Souffle Muffins – Enjoy!!!

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Happy Bunny Day!!


Eat Peeps and jelly bird eggs, they are fat free! Use light or fat free whipped cream today! Most important…have a wonderful day!!!

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