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I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening! Part 6

Though this likely sounds odd, we much preferred the Laughing Cow Light Gourmet Cheese Bites over the Light Original Swiss Cheese wedges in this recipe. When you compare the packages, you'll see they are similar, but everyone in my test kitchen agreed the squares taste better. So trust us when we say it's worth opening the ten squares instead of using a smaller number of wedges.

1 cup cooked brown rice, preferably short-grain, reheated if necessary 10 Laughing Cow Light Gourmet Cheese Bites (squares) In a small bowl, stir the cheese squares into the hot rice until well combined. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Each (about -cup) serving has: 138 calories, 5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 251 mg sodium Each (about -cup) serving has: 138 calories, 5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 251 mg sodium spicy orange rice noodles Hands-on Time: 7 to 10 MINUTES 7 to 10 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE The exotic flavor of this dish was really surprising to me, considering it uses only a few very basic ingredients. Just note that the rice noodles do stick together slightly (rice noodles are very starchy so they can be a bit sticky). Adding a touch of olive oil keeps them manageable. Sticky or not, I love them, especially used here in this delicious Asian-inspired dish, reminiscent of those super popular boxed noodles. It's sophisticated enough for guests, yet your kids will love it, too!

Note that though these noodles might seem scary to the novice, they're incredibly easy to work with. Try to keep them as intact as possible when pulling them apart. Pull them the long way, so the noodles stay longer, instead of being broken in half. If you don't have a kitchen scale, just estimate and use about of a 16-ounce package.

2 cups 100% orange juice (not from concentrate, preferably no pulp) 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, or more to taste (chili paste is okay too) 4 ounces uncooked angel hair rice noodles (look for them in the international section of your local grocery store) 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil Sea salt to taste Bring the orange juice to a boil in a medium nonstick saucepan over high heat. Add the chili garlic sauce and rice noodles. Boil the noodles, stirring occasionally (using a nylon pasta fork, if possible), for 2 to 4 minutes or until they are just soft and almost all of the orange juice is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the olive oil. Allow the noodles to stand for about 2 minutes to cool slightly and to absorb the remaining juice. Season with salt. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Each (generous -cup) serving has: 166 calories, 2 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 24 mg sodium Each (generous -cup) serving has: 166 calories, 2 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 24 mg sodium lemon caper spaghetti squash Hands-on Time: 10 MINUTES 10 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: 10 to 12 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) OR 40 TO 45 MINUTES (OVEN) 10 to 12 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) OR 40 TO 45 MINUTES (OVEN) It's important to avoid buying spaghetti squash that isn't fully ripe. A spaghetti squash that isn't ready will be extremely difficult to cut in half and won't yield a nice, soft texture when cooked. Look for a squash that is a bright, solid yellow (not pale yellow or white in parts). Once the rind is penetrated with a knife, a ripe squash is fairly easy to cut in half.

Also, be sure you have all the ingredients ready to go once the squash is cooked. You'll want to toss everything together when the squash is still hot.

Olive oil spray 1 medium (2 to 3 pounds) spaghetti squash 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon light butter 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon drained capers, or more to taste 1 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste Microwave Instructions Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise across the stem. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and the fibrous strings attached to them (be careful not to scrape too much, as the edible flesh of the squash scrapes out easily).

Pour cup water into a microwave-safe dish and place the squash, cut sides up, in the dish. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe plate or tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap, cutting a small slit in the plastic wrap to vent.

Cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through and tender. Let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Using a fork, carefully (the squash will be hot) remove the strands (flesh) of the squash into a medium glass or plastic serving bowl. Discard the rinds. Add the olive oil, butter, and lemon juice and gently mix the ingredients well to combine. Stir in the capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Oven Instructions Follow the microwave instructions, but instead of microwaving the scraped-out squash halves, bake them as follows: Preheat the oven to 375. Then line a medium baking sheet with foil and lightly mist it with spray. Place the halves, cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender enough that a knife can be easily inserted into the flesh, 40 to 45 minutes. Flip the halves over so the cut sides are up. Let them cool about 5 minutes.

Makes 4 servings. Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 86 calories, 2 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, trace fiber, 110 mg sodium Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 86 calories, 2 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, trace fiber, 110 mg sodium sauteed cherry tomatoes Hands-on Time: 7 MINUTES 7 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE For this recipe, it's best to cut the basil into fine slivers. Though it seems like that might take some time, it doesn't have to. Just stack a few basil leaves, then roll the stack from the stem end to the tip. Then make fine cuts across the miniature "log" of leaves. You'll have a pile of long slivers that create the perfect flavor burst in this recipe and are excellent for garnishing other dishes in seconds.

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil pound cherry or grape tomatoes teaspoon garlic powder 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaf slivers Sea salt and black pepper, to taste Place a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil, the tomatoes, and the garlic powder. Gently shake the pan to combine the ingredients well. Cook the tomatoes, stirring often, until they are tender and the skins begin to split (it's okay if the skins brown a little), about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Each (about -cup) serving has: 43 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 6 mg sodium Each (about -cup) serving has: 43 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 6 mg sodium

red & green stir-fry Hands-on Time: 6 MINUTES 6 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE Snow peas with tomatoes-it may seem an odd combination at first, but everyone in my office was really excited about this dish. Between the crisp peas and juicy tomatoes, it has a great texture and flavor, and it's definitely different from the traditional veggie sides we're used to.

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 cup snow peas or Chinese peas 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes 1 teaspoon (about 1 small clove) freshly minced garlic Sea salt and pepper, to taste Place a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil, peas, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are crisp-tender and the tomatoes are warmed through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Each (scant 1-cup serving) has: 49 calories, 2 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, trace saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 5 mg sodium Each (scant 1-cup serving) has: 49 calories, 2 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, trace saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 5 mg sodium balsamic roasted asparagus Hands-off Time: 4 MINUTES 4 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: 10 MINUTES TO MARINATE PLUS 7 to 10 MINUTES 10 MINUTES TO MARINATE PLUS 7 to 10 MINUTES Please note the thickness of asparagus spears varies widely. Thinner spears take only a few minutes to cook, while thicker spears easily take 6 minutes or even longer with this preparation. So plan based on the thickness of the spears you have, and make sure to stop cooking them as soon as they reach desired doneness.

1 pound asparagus, trimmed by snapping the thicker ends off where they break naturally (about 10 to 12 ounces after trimming) teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided Sea salt and fresh ground pepper Preheat the oven to 425.

In a large bowl, toss the spears in the oil and 1 teaspoon of the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Let the seasoned asparagus sit for 10 minutes.

Lay the spears in a single layer on a medium nonstick baking sheet. Bake them for 4 minutes, flip them, and continue baking until the spears are crisp-tender, 3 to 6 minutes depending on thickness. Drizzle the remaining vinegar over the spears and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Each serving has: 60 calories, 4 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 2 mg sodium Each serving has: 60 calories, 4 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 2 mg sodium cumin & lime black beans Hands-on Time: 8 MINUTES (MICROWAVE OR STOVETOP) 8 MINUTES (MICROWAVE OR STOVETOP) Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE These beans are a great prepare-ahead option. They reheat well, and the flavor is even better after a couple of hours. Try them chilled with a few baked tortilla chips for an excellent high-fiber snack. Or heat them up-they're fantastic stirred into brown rice for a tasty side dish to accompany Luau London Broil (see this page this page). Or simply toss the chilled beans into a salad.

1 (15-ounce) can 50%-less-sodium black beans, drained 1 tablespoons finely chopped onion (I used red onion, but any variety is okay) 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves teaspoon ground cumin Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste Microwave Instructions Add the beans to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe plate. Microwave the beans on high until they are heated through, about 1 minute.

Stir in the onion, lime juice, cilantro, and cumin until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Stovetop Instructions Instead of microwaving the beans, heat them over medium heat in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, until warmed, 5 to 7 minutes. Then follow the remaining instructions, mixing them directly in the pan, removed from the heat.

Makes 3 servings. Each (heaping -cup) serving has: 82 calories, 6 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 291 mg sodium Each (heaping -cup) serving has: 82 calories, 6 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 291 mg sodium creamy mustard tossed green beans Hands-on Time: 5 MINUTES 5 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: TIME TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 4 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 3 TO 5 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) TIME TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 4 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 3 TO 5 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) This simple recipe actually makes quite an elegant side dish. Though the sauce contains only two ingredients, it has a complex flavor. Your guests will think you spent a ton of time, but you can have the dish ready in the few minutes it takes to steam the green beans.

1 pound green beans, trimmed 2 tablespoons stone-ground or whole-grain mustard cup light sour cream Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste Stovetop Instructions Place a steamer insert in a large pot and add enough water to reach just below the insert. Place the pot over high heat, cover with a lid, and bring the water to a boil. Add the green beans and re-cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Steam the beans for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender. Drain them well.

Meanwhile, mix the mustard and sour cream in a small bowl until well combined.

Transfer the beans to a large glass or plastic serving bowl and add the mustard mixture. Toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Microwave Instructions Follow the stovetop directions, except instead of cooking the beans in a steamer, put 3 tablespoons water and the green beans in a medium microwave-safe bowl or dish. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the beans are crisp-tender. Drain them well.

Makes 4 servings. Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 47 calories, 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 108 mg sodium Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 47 calories, 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 108 mg sodium green beans with roasted red bell peppers Hands-on Time: 8 TO 10 MINUTES 8 TO 10 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: TIME TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 3 TO 4 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) TIME TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 3 TO 4 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) Green beans are such a versatile vegetable. I love coming up with different flavor combinations for them. They steam quickly, so they are always a great throw-together side dish. I love jarred roasted red peppers for the same reason-they are a flavorful, convenient ingredient to have on hand. So it made sense to combine the two to create this simple and tasty side dish.

Note that, as the recipe is written, these green beans are very crisp, which is how I like them. Feel free to cook them longer if you like softer beans.

1 pound green beans, trimmed 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic cup thinly sliced, drained jarred roasted red bell pepper strips Sea salt and pepper, to taste Stovetop Instructions Place a steamer insert in a large pot and add enough water to reach just below the insert. Place the pot over high heat, cover with a lid, and bring the water to a boil. Add the green beans and re-cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Steam the beans for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender. Drain them well.

When the beans are almost done, place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic begins to soften. Add the bell peppers, followed by the green beans. Toss the mixture 1 to 2 minutes, or until it is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Microwave Instructions Follow the directions above, except instead of cooking the beans in a steamer, add 3 tablespoons water and the green beans to a medium microwave-safe bowl or dish. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the beans are crisp-tender. Drain them well.

Makes 4 servings. Each (1-cup) serving has: 52 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 113 mg sodium Each (1-cup) serving has: 52 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 113 mg sodium green beans with lime Hands-on Time: 5 MINUTES 5 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: 8 TO 10 MINUTES TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 3 TO 4 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) 8 TO 10 MINUTES TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 3 TO 4 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) Have you ever tried using fancy sea salts in your cooking? This recipe is a great place to try a special salt. Because the flavors are so simple, a nice salt really stands out and pairs perfectly with the beans and lime juice. If you happen to have little girls, it's always fun to use pink sea salt that you shave yourself-they're likely to think it looks like a jewel. That said, traditional sea salt tastes great, too.

If you're entertaining with this dish, be sure to toss the beans in the lime juice and salt just before serving your guests. The acid in the lime juice may cause the beans to eventually turn brown (though even if this happens, they'll still taste great).

pound green beans, trimmed 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon lime juice, or more to taste Sea salt to taste Stovetop Instructions Place a steamer insert in a large pot and add enough water to reach just below the insert. Place the pot over high heat, cover it, and bring the water to a boil. Add the green beans and re-cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Steam the beans for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender. Drain them well.

Transfer the beans to a medium glass or plastic mixing bowl. Toss the beans with the lime juice. Season with salt. Serve immediately.

Microwave Instructions Follow the directions above, except instead of cooking the beans in a steamer, put 3 tablespoons water and the green beans in a medium microwave-safe bowl or dish. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the beans are crisp-tender. Drain them well. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 29 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, trace sodium Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 29 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, trace sodium grilled asparagus with goat cheese crumbles Hands-on Time: 8 MINUTES 8 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: TIME TO PREHEAT GRILL TIME TO PREHEAT GRILL I love using goat cheese in my healthy cooking. Although it has 6 grams of fat per ounce, I find I don't need to use nearly as much as I do of other cheeses since it has such a great strong punch of flavor. I've served this asparagus side at many a dinner party, and guests have always raved.

1 pounds asparagus, trimmed by snapping the thicker ends off where they break naturally 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and pepper, to taste 1 ounces (about cup) goat cheese crumbles Preheat a grill to high.

In a large bowl, toss the asparagus spears with the oil, salt, and pepper until combined.

Grill the spears in a single layer, rotating them about turn every minute or so until they are crisp-tender, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer the spears to a serving platter and top them evenly with the goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 69 calories, 4 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 39 mg sodium Each (about 1-cup) serving has: 69 calories, 4 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 39 mg sodium quick steamed lemon asparagus Hands-on Time: 7 MINUTES 7 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: TIME TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 2 TO 4 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) TIME TO BOIL WATER PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES (STOVETOP) OR 2 TO 4 MINUTES (MICROWAVE) Asparagus tends to be expensive when it's not in season and is ridiculously affordable when it is. Though it's usually available year round, the best time to seek asparagus is from February through June, with April being the prime month. During the peak of asparagus season, I've seen it for as little as 97 cents per pound even in Los Angeles and New York City, where grocery prices are far from ideal.

Be sure to chop the garlic very finely (aka: mince) in this recipe in order to achieve the perfect balance. If it's too coarse you may find the garlic to be overpowering.

1 pound asparagus, trimmed by snapping off the thicker ends where they break naturally 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste Sea salt, to taste Stovetop Instructions Place a steamer insert in a large nonstick pot. Fill the pot with enough water to reach just below the insert. Cover the pot and place it over high heat. Bring the water to a boil. Add the asparagus, re-cover the pot (leaving the lid slightly ajar), and steam until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Empty the pot into a strainer.

Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and gently toss the well-drained spears in the garlic mixture until they are coated. Add the pepper flakes and season with salt. Serve immediately.

Microwave Instructions Toss the asparagus with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons water in a large microwave-safe bowl or dish. Cover the bowl or dish with a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high until the spears are tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and season with salt. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 generous servings. Each serving has: 72 calories, 4 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, <1 mg sodium Each serving has: 72 calories, 4 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, <1 mg sodium snow peas with mint and pine nuts Hands-on Time: 9 MINUTES 9 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE As with other nuts, you may find a variety of pine nuts available in your local grocery store. Toasted, salted, dry-roasted, raw, and even seasoned varieties are available in markets today. Be sure to look for pine nuts that are raw or dry-roasted, which means they've been roasted without any added oils or fats. Though I normally prefer dry-roasted, here they'll toast in the pan, which will give the dish great flavor.

To trim peas, just break off the stem end and strip the string away from the edge. It's a great project for the kids.

teaspoon olive oil pound snow peas or Chinese peas, trimmed and strings removed 1 tablespoon dry-roasted or raw pine nuts (sometimes called pignoli pignoli) 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic teaspoon toasted or roasted sesame oil 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves Sea salt, to taste Place a large nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add the olive oil, peas, pine nuts, and garlic. Cook them, stirring occasionally, until the snow peas are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes (do not overcook them or they will get mushy). Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil and mint. Season with salt. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 generous servings. Each (heaping 1-cup) serving has: 95 calories, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 14 mg sodium Each (heaping 1-cup) serving has: 95 calories, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 14 mg sodium italian herbed zucchini Hands-on Time: 9 MINUTES 9 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE This dish has few ingredients but a complex flavor. I love using Gourmet Garden's Italian Seasoning Herb Blend here because you can really taste all of the individual herbs without going to the trouble of washing, drying, and chopping them. If you find another brand, that will work too. We've found Gourmet Garden is most common across the country. Though it seems pricy at first, it's really not if you consider how many uses you'll get from one tube and how long it lasts (be sure to check the date when you buy it to get one that will last for months).

teaspoon olive oil pound trimmed fresh zucchini, cut into -inch rounds 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Italian Seasoning Herb Blend (look for it in tubes in the produce section or online at gourmetgarden.com) Sea salt and pepper, to taste Place a large nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add the olive oil, zucchini, garlic, and herb blend to the pan. Cook the zucchini, stirring occasionally, until it's tender and begins to brown in spots, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Each (-cup) serving has: 37 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 78 mg sodium Each (-cup) serving has: 37 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 78 mg sodium steakhouse mushrooms Hands-on Time: 10 TO l5 MINUTES 10 TO l5 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE You'll notice the cooking time of the mushrooms may be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the sliced mushrooms you buy. If your mushrooms are thinner, they'll take less time. Thicker slices will obviously take a bit longer. However, thick or thin, this recipe will cooperate nicely. Just make sure to pay attention to the cooking time.

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 pound sliced button mushrooms 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic 2 tablespoons steak sauce (I used A-1) Sea salt and pepper, to taste Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook them, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms become tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the steak sauce and continue cooking the mixture for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Each (about- cup) serving has: 46 calories, 4 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 146 mg sodium Each (about- cup) serving has: 46 calories, 4 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 146 mg sodium mexican caprese salad Hands-on Time: 5 MINUTES 5 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE When using fresh herbs, be sure to dry them thoroughly after washing them so they are fluffy, not dense, when chopped. You not only get a more precise measurement, but they'll also distribute more evenly in your dishes.

2 medium plum tomatoes, stemmed and cut into -inch-thick slices Olive oil spray (from a spray bottle, not a store-bought, prefilled one that contains propellant; I used a Misto) 1 small lime wedge Sea salt and pepper, to taste 1 ounce finely crumbled queso fresco (look for it in the refrigerated section with other international ingredients) 1 teaspoons chopped cilantro leaves, or more to taste Place one of the tomato slices in the center of a large dinner plate. Arrange the remaining slices, overlapping slightly, forming rings around the center slice until all the tomatoes are used. Lightly mist the tomatoes with spray. Squeeze the lime wedge evenly over the tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Then, leaving the outer diameter of the tomato slices bare, sprinkle the cheese and then the cilantro over the top. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving. 66 calories, 5 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 44 mg sodium 66 calories, 5 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 44 mg sodium

today's taco salad Hands-on Time: 10 MINUTES 10 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE When making salads at home, make sure your lettuce is well dried. Here, also be sure the salsa or pico de gallo is completely drained of extra moisture by quickly throwing it in a fine sieve and then gently pressing it with a spoon. Eliminating moisture from the ingredients ensures the finished salad isn't watery. Well-dried ingredients yield a restaurant-quality (or better!) salad.

To make this dish even more special, add low-fat cheese or fresh cilantro.

4 ounces 96% lean ground beef to 1 teaspoon salt-free Mexican seasoning or rub (I used Southwest Chipotle Mrs. Dash) Salt, to taste, optional 3 cups finely chopped arugula or romaine, or a combination cup well-drained fresh pico de gallo or salsa ounce baked tortilla chips, crushed with your hands 2 tablespoons low-fat Mexican ranch or ranch dressing (I used Follow Your Heart's Spicy Southwest Ranch) Preheat a small nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat. When hot, add the beef, seasoning or rub, and salt. Cook the beef, breaking it into large chunks with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 2 to 4 minutes. Let the beef cool at least 1 minute before adding it to the salad.

Meanwhile, place the greens, pico de gallo, and chips in a large glass or plastic mixing bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top, add the beef, and toss well. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 salad (3 cups). 257 calories, 26 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 396 mg sodium 257 calories, 26 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 396 mg sodium cucumber tomato salad Hands-on Time: 4 MINUTES 4 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE Though I love traditional salads, I'm a big fan of salads that don't include lettuce, especially in summer months when it's warm. There's something about a bowl of fresh, crisp veggies spiked with a bit of cheese that I find satisfying. And it doesn't hurt that they provide fiber and fill you up with so few calories. Here's one variation I make often.

1 cup -inch cubes English or seeded cucumber 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes cup small red onion slivers 2 teaspoons light balsamic vinaigrette (no more than 2 g of fat per tablespoon; I used Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette) 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste, if desired ounce (2 tablespoons) goat cheese crumbles Sea salt and pepper, to taste Toss the cucumber, tomatoes, and onion with the vinaigrette and vinegar in a medium mixing bowl. Add the goat cheese, salt, and pepper, and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Each (about heaping 1-cup) serving has: 57 calories, 3 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 111 mg sodium Each (about heaping 1-cup) serving has: 57 calories, 3 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 111 mg sodium chicken caesar salad with sun-dried tomatoes Hands-on Time: 4 MINUTES 4 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE Depending on the flavor and thickness of the brand of dressing you buy, you may want to consider adding a little lemon juice to it before tossing it with the salad. Lemon can really brighten the flavor and/or thin thicker dressings (thus requiring less dressing). Be careful, though-some brands are already pretty acidic, so adding lemon juice may make the dressing sour. Buy prewashed lettuces to save time.

3 cups bagged romaine 4 ounces Basic Grilled Chicken (see this page this page) or lean store-bought grilled chicken breast strips ounce (scant cup) sun-dried tomato strips, or about 6 rehydrated sun-dried tomato halves (not oil-packed), cut into strips 10 fat-free herb-seasoned croutons (I used Marie Callender's Fat-Free Herb Seasoned Croutons) 2 tablespoons bottled light creamy Caesar salad dressing (one that has 8 g of fat or less per 2-tablespoon serving; I used Ken's Steakhouse Light Creamy Caesar) 1 teaspoon reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese (look for it in a plastic canister or jar, not in the refrigerated section) Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional Toss the lettuce, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, croutons, and dressing in a large glass or plastic mixing bowl until well combined. Top with Parmesan and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 (3 -cup) serving. 43 calories, 32 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 892 mg sodium 43 calories, 32 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 892 mg sodium arugula appetizer salad Hands-on Time: 4 MINUTES 4 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE I am pretty limited in the veggies I love, so I find myself eating the same ones often. Many years ago, I went to a restaurant in Beverly Hills, and they had an arugula salad. I'd never had arugula, but I was feeling adventurous. Ever since, arugula has been my favorite salad green-in part because I love it, but also because it's one of the darker greens and thus has more nutrients than iceberg. Now I admit it's a bit bitter and may not be everyone's favorite. But I'd definitely recommend giving arugula a try. If you like it half as much as I do, you'll love this simple salad.

3 cups (about 3 large handfuls) loosely packed prewashed arugula leaves cup cherry or grape tomatoes 1 tablespoon light balsamic vinaigrette (no more than 2 g fat per tablespoon; I used Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette) ounce shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional In a medium glass or plastic mixing bowl, toss the arugula, tomatoes, and vinaigrette. Top with the cheese. Season with black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 (3-cup) serving. '1 calories, 4 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 351 mg sodium '1 calories, 4 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 351 mg sodium

decadent desserts & sweet snacks Peppermint Brownie "Pizza"

Chipper Chipwich Mint Fudge Brownie Sundae Kick-Butt Kahlua Sundae Lip-Smackin' S'mores Sundae Chocolate Chip Banana Boat Caramel Apple Sundae Snack Broiled Peaches a la Mode Ready-for-Guests Roasted Pears Mini Chocolate Oreo Pudding "Pies"

Cinnamon Sugar Triangles Crunchy Bananas & Caramel Simpler S'mores Gooey Gramwiches Chocolate Peanut-Bears Tropical Truffles Sexy Strawberry Tapenade Strawberry Shortcake To Go Cinnamon & Sugar Soft Pretzel Strawberry Banana Marshmallow Fondue Skewers Irish Cream Hot Chocolate Icy Mocha Blended Orange Chocolate Milkshake Slimming Banana Smoothie

peppermint brownie "pizza"

Hands-on Time: 8 MINUTES 8 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: TIME TO PREHEAT OVEN PLUS 17 TO 19 MINUTES PLUS 25 TO 30 MINUTES COOLING TIME TIME TO PREHEAT OVEN PLUS 17 TO 19 MINUTES PLUS 25 TO 30 MINUTES COOLING TIME Ever since I created my Chocolate Chocolate Brownie cups, which are an even easier version of my brownies that Jenna Fischer from The Office The Office raved about on raved about on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, saying, "They played no small part in my recovery [speaking of her back injury]," I've been particular about eating only a select few varieties of brownies. Because mine taste like they are full of fat, I don't see a reason to eat actual fatty ones that don't taste any better. I will say, however, that when prepared as suggested as part of this recipe, the No Pudge! Brownies are definitely worth the calories. This recipe even shocked my team-it's truly delicious, not to mention fun! saying, "They played no small part in my recovery [speaking of her back injury]," I've been particular about eating only a select few varieties of brownies. Because mine taste like they are full of fat, I don't see a reason to eat actual fatty ones that don't taste any better. I will say, however, that when prepared as suggested as part of this recipe, the No Pudge! Brownies are definitely worth the calories. This recipe even shocked my team-it's truly delicious, not to mention fun!

To crush the peppermints, place the unwrapped candies in a resealable zip-top bag. Using the flat end of a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet, pound them until they are crushed into fine shavings. If you really want to save time, look for peppermint sprinkles near ice cream cones and ice cream toppings (brands such as Ken Craft and Wilton make them). They're more expensive than buying the peppermints and crushing them yourself, but they're a timesaver!

If you're not serving this pizza to your guests immediately, add the toppings to the brownie just before serving. If made too far ahead, the peppermints tend to run slightly on the whipped topping so it won't look quite as pretty (though it will still taste delicious!).

Butter-flavored cooking spray cup Fiber One or naturally sweetened fat-free vanilla yogurt 1 box (13.7 ounces) No Pudge! Original Fudge Brownie Mix (look for it in the baking or natural foods aisle in your grocery store or at Trader Joe's) 1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, defrosted 2 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint disks or candy canes 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup Preheat the oven to 350. Mist a 10 -inch tart pan with spray (as a backup, you can use a 10-inch nonstick deep-dish pizza pan, but the brownie won't pop out as easily as from a tart pan).

In a medium bowl, stir the yogurt into the brownie mix until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it with a spatula so it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center is no longer wet (a few crumbs are okay).

Allow the brownie to cool completely. Spoon the whipped topping into the center and then, using a spatula, spread it to evenly cover all but the outer -inch of the brownie. Sprinkle the crushed candies evenly over the top. Drizzle the syrup in a fine stream from the edge of a spoon to create a criss-cross pattern. Cut into 8 equal wedges. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Makes 8 servings. Each serving made with Fiber One yogurt has: 142 calories, 3 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, <1 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 107 mg sodium; Each serving made with naturally sweetened yogurt has: 145 calories, 3 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, <1 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 110 mg sodium Each serving made with Fiber One yogurt has: 142 calories, 3 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, <1 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 107 mg sodium; Each serving made with naturally sweetened yogurt has: 145 calories, 3 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, <1 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 110 mg sodium chipper chipwich Hands-on Time: 3 MINUTES 3 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: AT LEAST 1 HOUR TO FREEZE AT LEAST 1 HOUR TO FREEZE Make several of these low-fat chipwiches at once and store them in your freezer so you have some on hand for later. For freezing, stick the wrapped sandwiches in resealable freezer bags to keep the ice cream from getting icy.

2 reduced-fat chocolate chip cookies (10 to 12 g per cookie; I used Chips Ahoy! Reduced Fat Real Chocolate Chip Cookies) 2 tablespoons fat-free churned vanilla ice cream (I used Breyer's Double Churn) Spread the ice cream evenly over the bottom of one of the cookies. Place the other cookie atop the ice cream, smooth side down, to form a sandwich. Wrap the sandwich snugly in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour, or up to 10 days.

Makes 1 serving. 117 calories, 1 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 106 mg sodium 117 calories, 1 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 106 mg sodium mint fudge brownie sundae Hands-on Time: 4 MINUTES 4 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: 3 TO 5 MINUTES TO COOL (MICROWAVE) OR TIME TO PREHEAT OVEN PLUS 12 TO 14 MINUTES PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES TO COOL (OVEN) 3 TO 5 MINUTES TO COOL (MICROWAVE) OR TIME TO PREHEAT OVEN PLUS 12 TO 14 MINUTES PLUS 3 TO 5 MINUTES TO COOL (OVEN) I don't consider myself a snob at all ...except maybe when it comes to brownies. I've tasted very few brownies that are low in fat that I truly love. My favorites are my Chocolate Chocolate Brownie Cups, from The Most Decadent Diet Ever! (Broadway, 2008), but I must say the No Pudge! brownie mix is astoundingly tasty for a boxed product. The brownies and these sundaes are definitely worth a try.

2 tablespoons No Pudge! Mint Fudge Brownie Mix (look for it in the baking or natural foods aisle of your grocery store or at Trader Joe's) 1 tablespoon Fiber One or naturally sweetened, fat-free vanilla yogurt cup fat-free churned vanilla ice cream (I used Breyer's Double Churn) 2 teaspoons chocolate syrup 1 tablespoon fat-free aerosol whipped topping Microwave Instructions Stir the brownie mix and yogurt in a microwave-safe, 3 -inch-diameter ramekin or glass bowl until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl or ramekin, pushing the batter to the bottom. Microwave on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry (a few crumbs are okay). Allow the brownie to cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Top the cooked brownie with the ice cream, followed by the chocolate sauce and whipped topping. Serve immediately.

Oven Instructions Follow the microwave instructions, except instead of microwaving the brownie, bake it in a preheated 350 oven (in the ramekin) for 12 to 14 minutes, or until cooked through.

Makes 1 sandae. Made with Fiber One yogurt: 233 calories, 5 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, <1 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 173 mg sodium; made with naturally sweetened yogurt: 234 calories, 5 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, trace cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 175 mg sodium Made with Fiber One yogurt: 233 calories, 5 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, <1 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 173 mg sodium; made with naturally sweetened yogurt: 234 calories, 5 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, trace cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 175 mg sodium kick-butt kahlua sundae Hands-on Time: 3 MINUTES 3 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE When I was a child, I don't think I ever saw my mother drink unless we were on the occasional vacation and she ordered a pina colada. I do, however, distinctly remember her spooning a touch of Kahlua over her vanilla ice cream a fair number of times-and every time, she had a big smile on her face as she ate it. I remember her looking so happy. So in honor of her, I created this scrumptious sundae.

cup fat-free churned vanilla ice cream (I used Breyer's Double Churn) 2 teaspoons chocolate syrup 1 teaspoons Kahlua liqueur 1 tablespoon fat-free aerosol whipped topping Spoon the ice cream into a wineglass (a small bowl is okay too). Drizzle the chocolate syrup and Kahlua evenly over the top. Top with the whipped topping. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 sundae. 155 calories, 4 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, trace fat, trace saturated fat, trace cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 62 mg sodium 155 calories, 4 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, trace fat, trace saturated fat, trace cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 62 mg sodium lip-smackin' s'mores sundae Hands-on Time: 4 MINUTES 4 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: NONE NONE As you'll notice throughout this book, I use very few fat-free products beyond milk, yogurts, and ice creams because I don't think they taste good. So if you haven't tried fat-free ice cream in a while or you've never tried fat-free double churn, it's definitely worth giving it a try. It's come a long way from the fat-free ice cream of even a few years ago.

The marshmallow used in this recipe is an actual sundae topping. If you can't find it easily, sub in marshmallow creme and stir just the tiniest touch of water into it so it's not so thick. You won't need as much to get it spread over the sundae.

If you're having trouble finding fat-free hot fudge, check the labels of all hot fudge at your grocery store. A number of brands make fat-free versions, but some don't say it on the front of the jar.

1 ( cup) scoop churned, fat-free chocolate or chocolate cookies and cream ice cream (I used Breyer's Double Churn) 2 low-fat honey graham crackers ( sheet) 1 tablespoon fat-free hot fudge, warmed 1 tablespoon marshmallow topping (I used Smucker's) Scoop the ice cream into a sundae dish or small bowl. Divide the sheet of graham crackers into 2 pieces, then crumble them with your fingers as finely as possible over the ice cream. Drizzle the hot fudge and then the marshmallow evenly over the top. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving. 250 calories, 4 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 185 mg sodium 250 calories, 4 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 185 mg sodium chocolate chip banana boat Hands-on Time: 3 MINUTES 3 MINUTES Hands-off Time: Hands-off Time: TIME TO PREHEAT OVEN PLUS 6 TO 8 MINUTES TIME TO PREHEAT OVEN PLUS 6 TO 8 MINUTES Okay, this recipe is simple, but last year when I told a friend I was going to write this book he said I had to include it. I'd never heard of doing this, nor had a number of my friends. In fact, though I found many friends who made a version including marshmallows over a campfire as a kid, I didn't find one other person who'd actually made this. So I'm guessing that most folks won't have had it before. Trust me; if you like bananas and chocolate, you'll wish you'd tried it sooner!

1 medium (about 7 inches) banana 1 teaspoons mini chocolate chips Preheat the oven to 350.

Hold the unpeeled banana so the ends point up. Create a pocket by slicing it down the middle about inch from one end to inch from the other, being sure not to cut all the way through. Place the banana on a small baking sheet, ends still pointing up, and push the ends slightly toward each other to open the banana. Tuck the chocolate chips evenly in the opening. Bake the stuffed banana for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the banana is soft and the chips are mostly melted. Using a fork, gently mash the melted chips into the softened banana. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving. 145 calories, 2 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 0 mg sodium

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