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I had so much fun on “Talk of the Town” yesterday in Nashville. I thank my Nashville friends, Lisa and Rob, News Channel 5 and all of the Nashville subscribers and facebook fans for tuning in to watch me. One of the recipes I shared was this Spiced Nuts mix which I posted before Thanksgiving. It was very popular and is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday. It’s a lower-fat nut recipe and is ideal for a Super Bowl Party, holidays, or you can enjoy them as a snack or also tossed in a salad. Feel free to use any type of nuts that you want. These are worth every bite, and there’s no oil or butter in the recipe.

 

Spiced Almonds and Pecans 

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Yield: 41/2 cups

Ingredients

2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves

1  (6 ounce) can whole natural almonds

1/3  cup  packed brown sugar

11/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin

2  large egg whites, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites. Spread mixture evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Stir mixture; bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Transfer foil to a wire rack; cool almond mixture. Break almond mixture into small pieces.

Note: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

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Okay, I am having a slightly busy week…all because of these Tomato-Basil Sliders. I am in Nashville to be on WTVF News Channel 5 “Talk of the Town” on Friday, and I will be in Birmingham on WBRC Fox 6 TV on Saturday morning preparing this recipe and a few others for Super Bowl Sunday that I will post in the coming days.


Sliders are very popular this year, and this recipe is very special. Using marinara, fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes create such a flavorful burger that you won’t even need any toppings. And, they’re low-fat, and you can substitute ground turkey or pork if you wish. Adults and kids love them, and I hope you will too! Wish me luck, Alison


Sun-Dried Tomato Sliders

These proportions also work perfectly as a meatloaf in a 71/2- x 4-inch pan.

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular is fine)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup marinara sauce

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 egg whites

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 (1-ounce) Parker House rolls

Ketchup, lettuce leaves

Preparation

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Divide dough into 8 equal portions, shaping into a 1/4-inch patty. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Place patties in a grill pan and grill 3 to 5 minutes each side or until done. Serve on cut sides of rolls and top with marinara, ketchup and lettuce, if desired.

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I am amazed how many subscribers and fans on facebook I have that are college students, and I thank all of you and am so excited that ya’ll are cooking while in college! Carlie, a college senior at the University of Georgia, has particularly enjoyed when I post salad recipes, and she told me she has tried all of them. She asked me to “keep them coming” so Carlie, this one’s for you. This salad is a cinch! The ingredients are very simple and easy to find. Feel free to substitute salmon for the chicken or even add thin cooked vermicelli or rice noodles to this salad. I kept the dressing very light, but it is a little tangy so if you want to add more oil, feel free. 

 

Asian Chicken Salad

Prep: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

5 cups shredded romaine lettuce

1 large seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 cups shredded carrots

1 tomato, thinly sliced

11/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, toasted

2/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon canola or sesame oil

2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preparation

1. Combine lettuce and next 8 ingredients in a large salad bowl. Whisk together rice wine vinegar and remaining ingredients and pour over salad, tossing gently.

Low-fat, low-calorie manicotti? Is that possible? With only 325 calories and 8.5 grams of fat, I can say, yes, that is possible. This combination of lean ground beef, fat-free ricotta, egg white and fresh herbs creates a delicious and easy manicotti recipe. I developed this recipe for Laura’s Lean Beef Company a few years ago, and it has been a family staple for a few years. Feel free to use ground turkey or pork instead of beef if you choose. Also, you can prepare it a day ahead and bake it the next day.

 

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package manicotti

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15-ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 egg white

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Preparation

1. Cook manicotti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic 5 minutes or until meat is browned; drain and let cool slightly.

3. Combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and next 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the meat mixture and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce in a lightly greased 13-x 9-inch baking dish. Fill manicotti shells with the meat mixture and arrange in a single layer in prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until sauce bubbles and is heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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This recipe is a breeze, and it’s bursting with flavors from paprika, cumin, olives, parsley and tomatoes. If you don’t like cumin, you can omit it and double the paprika. Using chicken cutlets cuts down on the cooking time so you will have this to your table in about 25 minutes or so. Serve with a big green salad, roasted asparagus or some rice, and that’s all you need for dinner tonight.

 

Skillet Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

11/2 pounds chicken cutlets

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup white wine or low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/4 cup sliced green olives

Preparation

1. Sprinkle chicken with first 3 ingredients; drizzle with lemon juice. Heat oil in a large lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is golden.

2. Remove chicken from skillet and pour white wine into skillet, stirring to scrape the bottom solids. Add shallots and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; add chicken back to skillet; simmer 5 minutes.

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How about a simple and healthy bean soup recipe while the weather is still cold? I found this plain bean mixture at Fresh Market, but you can find bean mixes at all local grocery stores. I don’t use the seasoning packets that come with them, just the recipe below. Just look for a 1-pound bag, and this recipe will be a breeze. It’s so hearty, easy and flavorful. The hardest part is that you have to soak the beans overnight. Stay warm and enjoy!

 

Bean Vegetable Soup

1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage can be added to this.

Prep: 20 minutes

Stand: overnight

Cook: 2 hours

Yield: 8 cups

Ingredients

1 pound bean soup mix

6 cups water

4 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup diced carrot

3/4 cup diced celery

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation

1. Soak the bean mix overnight in plenty of water; rinse and drain.

2 Add beans to water and bring to a boil; simmer 1 hour. 

3. If adding sausage,  saute sausage in a large saute pan until browned. Add sausage and remaining ingredients; simmer 2 hours. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and Parmesan before serving, if desired.

Classic Beef Pot Roast from Cooking Light

Pot roast is the perfect answer for a Sunday dinner, especially this time of year. This recipe is beyond basic. It’s so easy that anyone can make it. It’s just chop, dump and bake. And don’t worry, this recipe is only 300 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving, and you will have leftovers during the week.

 

Basic Pot Roast

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

1  teaspoon  olive oil

1  (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed

1  teaspoon  kosher salt

1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

2  cups finely chopped onion

1  cup  dry red wine or fat-free low-sodium beef broth

4  thyme sprigs

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

3  garlic cloves, chopped

1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth

1  bay leaf

4  large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

11/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

3. Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, parsley, garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 11/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

4. Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.