Lighter Homecookin’

About six weeks ago, a friend and I went to a meet and greet with Bobby Deen (son of Paula Deen). If you have read People magazine lately, then you probably know that he and his family have lost a lot of weight. Bobby did his by recreating his mother’s recipes with healthier substitutes. In fact, this cookbook is so popular it is a best seller. As part of this event, Season 52 prepared some of the recipes for a special dinner. I have to say the food was excellent and Bobby was so sweet.

This is the first recipe I prepared from his cookbook. I was a little surprised to see corn, sour cream, and apple sauce in the same recipe. But I have to tell you, it was fluffy and delicious. In fact, every recipe my co-workers and I have tried in the cookbook has been good. They best part is he uses normal ingredients – just lighter or fat free versions of them. I would recommend buying this cookbook – From Mama’s Table to Mine.

I think this recipe would be good for Easter dinner.

This plate includes Bobby's recipes for meatballs and twice baked potato as well.

This plate includes Bobby’s recipes for meatballs and twice baked potato as well.

Scalped Corn by Bobby Deen
1 can cream style corn
1 can regular corn (I did not drain because the recipe didn’t say to)
1 egg white
1 c. light sour cream
1/4 c. apple sauce
1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

Mix together sour cream, apple sauce, and the egg white. Slowly add corns and corn bread mix. Spray a 2 qt dish with nonstick spray and bake for 60 mintes at 350 degrees.

 Nutritional Information: Serves 7. Contains 9 g. fat, 6 g. protein, 47 carbs, 1.5 g. fiber, and 660 mg sodium.

Black Bean Brownies

A few month ago, Susan G. Komen for the Cure added a health recipe section to their website (click here for Komen recipes). One of the reasons is because living a healthy lifestyle (exercise and maintaining a healthy weight) can help reduce your risk for breast cancer. As someone concerned about these things, I decided to give a few of the recipes a try. This is one I just made for my co-workers.

Black Bean BrowniesBlack Bean Brownies by
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 eggs
1/2 c. granulated artificial sweetener
3 T. cocoa powder
2 T. strong coffee
1 tsp. baking powder
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray, coat an 8X8 baking pan. Add all ingredients into a food processor except for the beans and blend. Add the beans and blend thoroughly. Pour brownie batter into the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the brownies cool before cutting.

Nutrition (per serving – 16 servings) Calories: 79 cal, Total fat: 3g, Saturated fat: 1g, Monounsaturated fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 46mg, Potassium: 126mg, Carbohydrate: 9g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 4g.


  • Although it didn’t really taste like black beans, I did find the sugar substitute to leave a little bit of an after taste. Just be aware if you don’t normally drink diet pop (soda).
  • They are very moist but without preservatives get moldy quickly. If you don’t eat them in three or four days, be sure you keep them refrigerated.

Share Breakfast

Last week, I saw Taye Diggs on Good Morning America saying to tweet something to provide breakfast for kids in need. I usually watch The Today Show these days so I had to go online to figure out what exactly he was talking about. Kellogg’s will provide up to $250,000 (or 1.25 million school breakfast) for every share, pin, tweet, or YouTube related video watched. The promotion doesn’t end until April 15, 2013 so I hope you will help. Be sure to use the hashtag #sharebreakfast on Twitter to be sure your efforts are counted.

Why is this so important? Because children are hungry and it impacts their learning. I know because I saw it with my own eyes when I was an AmeriCorps Member. At the end of my college days, I was hired as an AmeriCorps Member for the Comprehensive School Health Initiative/Nebraska Reads program in Lincoln, NE. I mentored and tutored children ages K-6 and helped coordinate an afterschool/summer program for at risk youth. Every day, I worked with smart kids who struggled to focus on their classwork because they were hungry. The easy solution seems like getting your kids to school early to partake in the school breakfast program. Well, that only works if mom, dad, or whoever their caretaker is gets them to school early enough to eat. For one of my girls, just getting to school when the bell rang at 9AM was a chore. In fact, one day her mother didn’t bring her or her siblings to school until 1:30PM. Yes, you read that correctly. Mom said she overslept in the note to the teachers. And I can tell you, that little girl also missed lunch that day. When I asked if she had anything in her house she could fix herself, this 8 year old informed me “no”.

I wish I could tell you this was a rarity but I know lots of kids in the same boat. It’s part of the reason we provided our kids enrolled in the afterschool program with a healthy snack.  That’s why programs exist today like Harvester’s BackSnack Program. This program helps ensure kids have food (they can prepare) on the weekends when they can’t be at school for breakfast and lunch. It’s also one of the things I worry about kids on days when schools have to close for bad weather.

I came up with a solution for my little girl when I was in AmeriCorps. I started packing granola bars in my backpack for her to eat every day. I wish I could say it was my idea but a fellow AmeriCorps member suggested it. And my super smart little girl was less irritated and was better able to concentrate. We also worked on a goal all year – for her to make it to school every morning for breakfast for one entire month. I’m happy to report, she accomplished the goal a few weeks before the end of our time working together. (Something I hope she was able to carry one after I was gone.) The reward she picked for achieving her goal was ice cream during out time working together – 10:30AM. Now, I’m not a parent but I also know kids shouldn’t eat ice cream for breakfast. My compromise was Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.

I still think about that little girl and all the others I worked with. Her little sister would be a senior in high school this year. My hope is that she and her older sister are in college somewhere now. And I hope I made a positive impact in her life…something she will want to do for others in her future.

Biscuit cupScrambled Egg Biscuit Cups by Betty Crocker
2 c. Bisquick
1/3 c. cheddar cheese
3/4 c. milk
8 eggs
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 T. butter, softened
1/2 c. Parmesan and mozzarella cheese pasta sauce (from 1-lb jar)
3 T. bacon bites
1 tsp. chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, mix Biquick, cheese, and 1/2 c. milk until soft dough ball forms. Knead a couple of times and then shape into a 10 in. log. Cut into 12 pieces and place one in each cup. Press up along the muffin tin sides. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and use the back of a wooden spoon to press air puffs down. Meanwhile, mix eggs, remaining milk, and pepper in another bowl. Melt butter in a skillet. Cook your eggs in the skillet until firm. Fold in pasta sauce and bacon. Remove biscuits from muffin cups and spoon in egg mixture. Sprinkle with chives and bacon bits. Makes 12 servings.

 Nutrition Information (Per Serving): 180 calories (80 from fat), 9g. fat (3.5 saturated fat, 1 g. trans fat), 150 mg cholesterol, 420 mg. sodium, 15 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 2 g. sugar, and 8 g. protein.


  • I used nonstick cooking spray instead of butter.
  • I also used fat free cheese and pre-cooked bacon. It’s a great way to cut fat grams.
  • I used egg whites substitute for half the eggs. It’s an easy way to cut calories and cholesterol.
  • My Bisquick wasn’t think enough to form a soft ball. I used the last of my box so I didn’t have extra to add to the mix. I went ahead and spooned in balls. It kind of worked but the biscuits were half as tall and stuck to the pan. As a result, I had too much egg mixture. Maybe decrease by one or two eggs (adjust milk accordingly).

Raspberry Bites

I saw this recipe on Pinterest. It was a little different than my Rolo Pretzels Bites. The recipe online used the square pretzel which is a great alternative when you can’t find the round ones. I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, the Kisses melted just as nicely as the Rolos. I think it is a great way to change the flavor of these simple treats by using whatever flavor of Kisses you most desire.

Raspberry BitesRaspberry Bites on Pinterest
round pretzels (or square if you can’t find the round ones)
raspberry flavored Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Place baking mat on a cookie sheet.  Line mat with pretzels. Place a Hershey’s Kiss (point side up) in the center of each. Bake at 225 degrees for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and place M&M in the center of each. Chill in the refrigerator until harden.

Two Thumbs Up

I’m not exactly sure what recipe I was looking for when I ran across this recipe on The Cooking Channel’s website. It is a Hungry Girl (2010) recipe so you know she has turned one of your favorites into a healthier snack. This recipe reminded me of those Warm Delights by Betty Crocker. This homemade version is probably cheaper and super quick. Enjoy!

Chocolate Mug DessertMississippi Mug Pie by Hungry Girl
1 packet, 25 calorie hot cocoa mix
3 level tablespoons devil’s food cake mix (not packed)
1 T. fat-free liquid eggs substitute
1 sugar-free 60 calorie chocolate pudding snack, divided
1 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Fat-free whipped topping (optional)
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Spray a large microwave-save mug with nonstick spray. Add cocoa mix, cake mix, egg substitute, and 2 T. water. Mix well. Add chocolate chips and about third of pudding. Stir gently. Microwave on High for 1 minute. Fluff with ford, and add remaining pudding. Microwave for 1 more minute. Let cool slightly and top with whipped topping and mint leave if desired.

Nutritional Facts: 223 calories, 5 g. fat, 588 sodium, 45.5 g. carbs, 2.75 fiber, 19 sugars, 6.5 g. protein. Serves one.

Baked Eggs

I saw a picture of this recipe on a Pinterest Valentine’s board. The person had made it in heart shaped pan. Ironically, I happen to have a heart shaped muffin tin. If you don’t, it won’t look like a cupid with an arrow but it will still taste the same. One of the things I liked is that you can make one or six muffin cups since each is made individually.

Baked EggBaked Eggs on Pinterest
Spreadable butter
Six eggs

Six slices of bread
Six pieces of bacon, mostly cooked

Use a round cookie cutter and cut out patterns in each slice of bread. Disgaurd the crust. Slice each circle in half. Cover one side with butter. Fill the muffin cup, buttered side down, with both pieces. Bake bacon to lightly cooked state. Pat off grease and put sideway into cup. Break open an egg over bacon bread cup. Salt and pepper your egg. Repeat for all six muffins. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.


  • I didn’t have a round cookie cutter so I traced an upside down custard cup. It worked just fine.
  • I opted to use the pre-cooked bacon. It worked but got a little crisp. Note to people who don’t like crisp bacon.

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

One of my friends and old co-workers loves red velvet cake. When I saw this recipe, it seemed like the perfect surprise thank you gift. You see, he asked his wife (another friend and co-worker) to give me a ride to pick-up my car from the repair shop. I truly appreciate the kind gesture and never forgot it.

In January, I shared a post from a friend on my Facebook wall. You may have seen it, if you “like” the post, you will receive the surprise at some point from me throughout the year. Four of my friends responded and I haven’t forgotten. I started with Nick in celebration of Kindness Week. I couldn’t think of a better time to repay the favor. Since his wife helped me with the surprise (as well as the ride), I asked him to be sure to share with Sara.

Nick, Sara, and my family all loved this recipe. Very soft and moist.

100_0904Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies from Pinterest (adapted from a Paula Deen recipe)
8-oz cream cheese, at room temperature (I used reduced fat)
1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 box red velvet cake mix
confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Beat in the egg, then add vanilla. Beat in the cake mix until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll the dough into balls. Roll dough balls in confectioners’ sugar, and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Fruit Salsa

Fruit SalsaFruit Salsa from Pinterest
1 – 16 oz. package of fresh strawberries
1 – 8 oz. package of fresh raspberries
2 – red apples
2 kiwi
2 T. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. fruit preserves (I used strawberry)

Dice fruit into bite sided pieces. Add sugars and preserves. Refrigerate for an hour.

Note: I had Mission Sugar & Cinnamon Chips and Sesmark Multigrain Buttery Caramel Chips that I used with it. If you can’t find them, I would suggest using my Baked Tortilla recipe. Just substitute cinnamon and sugar for the other spices.

Not Fried “Fried” Chicken

Fried chicken is one of my favorite food items. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t crave a little KFC now and then. Unfortunately, traditional fried chicken isn’t super healthy. I ran across this Mr. Food’s recipe for a baked chicken that promised a fried chicken crunch. I have to say, this chicken did have a nice crunch as well as nice and juicy. You have to try this diabetic friendly “fried” chicken.

Mr. FoodNot Fried “Fried” Chicken by Mr. Food’s
1 chicken (3 to 3.5 lbs), cut into 10 pieces (skin off)

2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 egg whites
1 & 1/2 c. cornflakes
1/2 tsp. ground sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Beat egg whites in a second shallow dish. Crush cornflakes and sage in a plastic bag. Then, pour into a shallow dish. Take each piece of chicken and flour it. Then, coat it in egg. Finally, coat in cornflakes. In a sprayed dish, place each piece of chicken. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Nutrition Facts: (2 pieces per serving) 299 calories (64 calories from fat), 7 g. fat, 2 g. saturated fat, 84 mg. cholesterol, 627 mg. sodium, 25 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. sugar, and 32 g. protein.


  • I cut the recipe in third. I only ate one piece with potatoes and felt satisfied.
  • I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • I also used egg white substitute.
  • Recently, I met Bobby Deen at an event featuring his new cookbook. I was surprised to learn during a conversation with him that unsweetened cornflakes aren’t any worst for you then Panko bread crumbs. Since I like the taste better, I wouldn’t worry about using them in recipes. Bobby did still suggest using Panko bread crumbs on veggies though.