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Feb 1, 2010

White Bread and Ketchup

Use white bread to: Dust an oil painting. Gently dab a slice of white bread over the surface to pick up dirt and grime.

Use ketchup to: Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.

Oatmeal

Use it to: Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well.

Rice

Use it to: Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigor-ously, and rinse.

Tea

Use it to: Scour rusty garden tools. Brew a few pots of strong black tea. When cool, pour into a bucket. Soak the tools for a few hours. Wipe each one with a cloth. (Wear rubber gloves or your hands will be stained.)

Glycerin

Use it to: Remove dried wax drippings from candlesticks. Peel off as much wax as possible, then moisten a cotton ball with glycerin and rub until clean.

Club Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Use club soda to: Shine up a scuffed stainless-steel sink. Buff with a cloth dampened with club soda, then wipe dry with another clean cloth.

Use hydrogen peroxide to: Disinfect a keyboard. Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide to get into those nooks and crannies.

Cornstarch

Use it to: Clean grease spills on carpets. Pour cornstarch onto spots and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.

Rubbing Alcohol

Use it to: Erase permanent-marker stains from finished wood floors or solid-surface countertops. Pour rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and apply.   

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Posted: Feb 1, 2010 11:23am
Feb 1, 2010

Lemons

Countertops: Dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda to tackle countertops; wipe with a wet sponge and dry. Don’t use on delicate stone, like marble, or stainless steel (it may discolor).

Cutting boards: To remove tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Dishes: To increase the grease-cutting power of your dishwashing detergent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Faucets: Combat lime scale by rubbing lemon juice onto the taps and letting it sit overnight. Wipe with a damp cloth.

Garbage disposal: Cut a lemon in half, then run both pieces through the disposal. “The lemon cleans it and makes it smell great,” says Linda Mason Hunter, a coauthor of Green Clean (Melcher Media, $17, amazon.com).

Grout: Spilled morning coffee on your tile countertop or backsplash? Here’s how to tackle grout stains: Add lemon juice to 1 or 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (an acidic salt that acts as a natural bleaching agent) to make a paste. Apply with a toothbrush, then rinse.

Hands: When you touch raw fish, the smell can linger on your fingers. Rub your hands with lemon juice, which will neutralize the odor.

Laundry: To brighten whites, add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle for a normal-size load.

Plastic food-storage containers: To bleach stains from tomato soup and other acidic foods on dishwasher-safe items, rub lemon juice on the spots, let dry in a sunny place, then wash as usual.

Essential Oils

Combs and brushes: Fill a container with 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, and 20 drops tea-tree, lavender, or eucalyptus oil. Soak combs and brushes for 20 minutes. Rinse and air-dry.

Scuffed floors: Apply two to four drops of tea-tree oil to the spots. Wipe excess oil with a cloth and rub in distilled white vinegar.

Gum-encrusted items: Orange oil is great at removing this sticky offender from various materials. (Don’t worry: It shouldn’t stain fabrics. But do launder immediately.) Apply with a cotton ball.

Shower doors: Wipe scum-covered glass doors with a few drops of lemon oil twice a month. It will protect them from grime buildup.

Toilets: Add 2 teaspoons tea-tree oil and 2 cups water to a spray bottle. Shake, then spritz along the toilet’s inside rim. Let sit for 30 minutes; scrub. You can also place a few drops of your favorite oil on the inside of the toilet-paper tube. “Every time the paper is used, the scent will be released,” says Siegel-Maier.

Windows: Mix 2 ounces water and 10 drops lavender or lemongrass oil to wipe grime off windows. Bonus: These oils may repel flies.

Liquid Castile Soap

Car: Mix 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap with hot water in a bucket (fill almost to the top). Rub a generous amount of the solution on your car’s exterior, windshield, hubcaps, and tires with a large sponge, then thoroughly hose it off.

Floors: You can mop almost any type of floor with a solution of 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap and 2 gallons warm water. If the floors are greasy, add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar to the bucket. leather upholstery: Add 2 drops liquid Castile soap to 1 quart warm water. Apply to the leather with a barely moist sponge.

Marble countertops: Stir 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap into 1 quart warm water. Dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe surface. Rinse, then dry with a clean cloth.

Sinks, showers, tubs, and ceramic tile: Create a homemade soft scrubber by combining 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap and 1/3 cup baking soda.

Stovetop and vent hood: Add a few squirts of liquid Castile soap to 2 cups hot water. Apply to the stovetop, the burners, and the vent hood to cut through accumulated grease.

Cooking Oils

Cast-iron pans: Make a scrubbing paste with vegetable oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt to combat cooked-on debris, then rinse with hot water.

Hands: To get paint off your skin, rub with vegetable oil, then wash thoroughly with soap.

Leather shoes: Wipe away dirt with a damp sponge, then apply a drop of vegetable oil to a soft cloth and rub the surface to remove scuff marks. Buff the shoes with a chamois to a shine.

Rattan and wicker furniture: To prevent rattan and wicker from drying or cracking, lightly brush them with vegetable or sunflower oil and gently rub in with a cloth. Warm the oil on the stove first to thin it and make it easier to apply.

Stainless-steel surfaces: For extra sparkle, pour olive oil onto a cloth and buff.

Wood furniture: Make your own polish by mixing 2 cups olive or vegetable oil with the juice of 1 lemon; work it in with a soft cloth. To smooth out scratches in light-colored wood, rub them with a solution of equal parts olive or vegetable oil and lemon juice.

Borax

Baseboards, countertops, and walls: Dissolve 1/2 cup borax in 1 gallon hot water and pour the solution into a spray bottle (which you can store for later use). Spritz generously, wipe down with a damp cloth, and let air-dry.

China (including hand painted): Soak china in a dishpan filled with warm water and 1/2 cup borax; rinse well.

Dishwasher: If the machine is smelling like last night’s chicken cacciatore, sprinkle borax in the bottom, let it sit overnight, then wipe down with a damp sponge. No need to rinse; just run the next load.

Pots and pans: Rub borax into cookware with a damp sponge; rinse well.

Toilet: Pour borax in the bowl and let it sit overnight, says Annie Bond, author of Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, $19, amazon.com). Swish the bowl a few times with a toilet brush and flush the next day. “Borax really gets rid of rust stains,” she says.


Vinegar


Coffeemaker: Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the machine’s water chamber, then switch on the brew cycle. Halfway through, turn off the coffeemaker and let the solution sit for about an hour. Turn it on again to complete the cycle, then run several cycles with clean water.

Dishwasher: To disinfect the interior of the machine, pour 1/2 cup vinegar into the reservoir and run an empty cycle, says Hunter. Or place a small bowl filled with vinegar on the bottom rack and run an empty cycle.

Drains: Clean drains―and the pipes they’re attached to―by pouring vinegar down them. After 30 minutes, flush with cold water.

Floors: Add 1/4 cup vinegar to a bucket of warm water to clean almost any type of floor except marble (vinegar can scratch it) or wood (vinegar can strip it).

Glassware: For spotless hand-washed glasses, add 1 cup vinegar to the rinse water.

Moldy walls: Spray vinegar on the affected areas. After about 15 minutes, rinse and let dry thoroughly.

Showerheads: To combat mineral deposits, pour vinegar into a plastic grocery bag and knot the handles over the neck of the showerhead, securing with rubber bands. Let soak overnight. Rinse with water in the morning.

Steam iron: To get rid of mineral deposits, fill the iron with equal parts vinegar and water; press the steam button. Turn off, let cool, empty, and rinse.

Windows: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and a squirt of liquid Castile soap in a spray bottle. Spritz windows and wipe with a sheet of newspaper.

Baking and Washing Soda

Can opener: Dip a toothbrush in a paste of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon water and use it to dislodge gunk.

Garage floors (and other concrete surfaces): Pour washing soda generously on oil and grease spots and sprinkle with water until a paste forms. Let stand overnight. The next day, scrub with a damp brush, hose down, and wipe clean.

Garden tools: Dip a moist stiff-bristled brush in washing soda to scrub trimmers, clippers, and more. Rinse, then place in a sunny area to dry. (Don’t use washing soda on aluminum tools.)

Grills and barbecue utensils: To combat tough grease stains, dip a moist stiff- bristled brush in washing soda and scrub away.

Stove burner grates: In a dishpan, soak them in 1 gallon warm water and 1/2 cup washing soda for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry.

Stained teacups and coffee mugs: Fill with 1 part baking soda and 2 parts water and soak overnight; rub with a sponge and rinse.

Upholstered furniture: To remove odors, sprinkle baking soda on the fabric, then vacuum.

Scuffed walls: Erase crayon marks by applying a baking- soda paste (equal parts baking soda and water) to white painted walls (baking soda may dull colored walls). Let dry before brushing it off with a clean cloth.

Toothpaste

Acrylic accessories (such as desktop organizers): Squeeze toothpaste onto a toothbrush and work it into scratches until they diminish. Wipe residue off with a cloth.

Chrome fixtures: To polish faucets and taps in the kitchen or bathroom, smear a dime-size amount of toothpaste onto them, then buff with a soft cloth until they shine.

Scuffed linoleum: Reduce marks by scrubbing them with toothpaste and a dry cloth until no toothpaste residue remains.

Piano keys: Rub each key carefully with a damp cotton swab and a dollop of toothpaste. Wipe dry and buff with a clean cloth.

Tarnished silverware: Put a dab of toothpaste on a soft cloth, rub it onto the tarnish, then rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.

Steam iron: Mineral deposits can stain an iron’s soleplate. Apply a dab of toothpaste and work it into the plate. Use a clean cloth to remove residue.

Table Salt

Artificial flowers: Place the fake blooms inside a paper bag and pour in salt. Close the bag and shake vigorously. The salt will dislodge accumulated dust and dirt.

Glassware: Salt won’t scratch the way a scouring pad can. To get out stubborn stains, add some salt for extra abrasion and scrub.

Greasy pots and pans: Sprinkle salt on cookware to absorb excess grease. Dump out the salt before washing as usual. (Not recommended for nonstick cookware.)

Spills in the oven: If that casserole bubbles over as you take it out of the oven, pour salt on the spill to soak it up. When the oven is cool, wipe with a damp sponge.

Stained teacups and coffee mugs: Sprinkle salt on the outside of a lemon peel; rub the affected area till clean.

Wooden counters and tables: Cover grease splatters with salt to absorb as much as possible. Wait an hour, then brush away the salt.
 


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Posted: Feb 1, 2010 11:02am
Feb 1, 2010

Rubber Bands

1. Open jars with ease. When a small lid won’t budge, wrap a rubber band around it several times to give you a better grip.

2. Decorate Easter eggs. Arrange rubber bands in a pattern around hard-boiled eggs, then dip them into dye. Remove the bands when the eggs are dry.

3. Bring order to your dishwasher. Tether stemware and other delicate, wobbly items to the rack.

4. Wrap a gift. Use multiple colored rubber bands instead of ribbon to add modern flair to a small present. (Particularly handy when you can’t find the tape.)

Toothpicks 

5. Label meat. Are these burgers rare or well-done? They all look the same on the outside. Identify just-off-the-grill meats with different-colored toothpicks and they won’t get mixed up.

6. Find the end of the roll. When you’ve finished using tape, wrap the end around a toothpick so you can easily locate it the next time.

7. Glue beads and sequins. Use the sharp ends to apply teensy items to a craft project.

8. Sew a better button. Place a toothpick between the button and fabric so it doesn’t go on too tightly and end up tough to fasten.

9. Press a gadget’s Reset button. What fits perfectly into that tiny hole? You guessed it.

Salt 

10. Clean up a cracked egg. Cover the mess with a handful of salt, then wipe up with ease.

11. Dust a wreath. Place a wreath of pinecones or faux evergreen in a paper bag with a 1/4 cup of salt. Fold the top of the bag over and gently shake.

12. Remove tea stains. Sprinkle salt on a lemon peel, then rub it on a tea-stained cup. 

13. Shine brass and copper. Make a paste of a few tablespoons of white vinegar with equal parts salt and flour. Apply with a soft cloth, rinse, and dry.

Post-It Note

14. Clean a keyboard. Run the sticky side between the keys to collect crumbs and bits of lint.

15. Navigate the roads. Write directions on a note and stick it to the center of your steering wheel for quick reference.

16. Mark containers. Cut off the sticky zone and use it as an ersatz label for travel bottles so you don’t confuse your facial cleanser with your hair gel.

17. File away. Divide a pile of paper into sections using Post-it Notes as you would folder tabs.

18. Play tic-tac-toe. Use a sheet for each X and O. Peel them up and play again until they lose their stickiness.

Felt Circles 

19. Secure slinky garments. Stick a felt circle onto each arm of a hanger to keep clothes from sliding off.

20. Anchor a cutting board. Place a circle under each corner of the board so it stays put while you slice and dice.

21. Prevent tabletop scratches. Attach a circle to the bottom of a vase so it doesn’t scuff surfaces.

22. Keep your kitchen quiet. Hush a banging cabinet door by sticking a circle on a corner on the inside of the door.

23. Protect the walls. Position felt on each corner of a picture frame so the edges won’t mark the paintwork. 

Clear Nail Polish

24. Keep an eyeglass screw in place. If your specs are a bit wobbly, tighten the screws and top them with a dollop of polish.

25. Secure buttons. Apply a thin layer of polish to the center of a button to keep the thread from coming loose.

26. Avoid rust stains in the bathroom. Coat the bottom of a shaving-cream can to fend off rings on the ledge of the tub.

27. Seal an envelope. When a flap won’t stay stuck, find closure with clear polish.

28. Extend the life of jewelry. Paint a thin coat onto a costume bauble to prevent it from losing its luster.

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Posted: Feb 1, 2010 10:56am
Feb 1, 2010

Original purpose: Tripping up Laurel and Hardy.

Aha! use: Fertilizing roses. Just flatten a peel and bury it under one inch of soil at the base of a rosebush. The peel’s potassium feeds the plant and helps it resist disease.

Reward: A nutritional boost for you and your buds.

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Posted: Feb 1, 2010 10:54am
Feb 1, 2010

Aluminum Foil as Wrinkle Remover

To get wrinkles out of silk, wool, and rayon clothes that can’t take direct heat, place a piece of foil on your ironing board, then lay the garment flat over it. With the steam button down, pass the iron three to four inches over the fabric several times. Wet heat radiating from the foil helps smooth out wrinkles.

Aluminum Foil as Grilling Helper

Really hot grill bars equal dramatic grill marks on your porterhouse. To concentrate the heat and keep it from escaping, lay a sheet of foil over the grill for 10 minutes. Peel the foil off just before cooking, scrunch it into a ball (it cools fast), and use it later to scrape any residue or ash from the bars.

Aluminum Foil for a Clear TV Signal

If your DVD player is stacked on top of the TV (or vice versa) and the picture is fuzzy, the two electromagnetic fields may be commingling, confusing the signals. (This usually happens with plastic casings; with metal it's less likely.) Slip a sheet of foil between the machines to separate the fields.

Aluminum Foil as Paint Protector

Protect doorknobs and hardware in the kitchen and bathroom when you’re painting by wrapping foil around them to catch dribbles. The foil molds to the shape of whatever it’s covering and stays firmly in place until the job is complete.

Aluminum Foil as Piecrust Protector

To prevent a piecrust from burning while the filling cooks, make a foil collar to deflect heat. Take a piece of foil about 25 inches long, fold it into thirds lengthwise, and fasten the ends with a paper clip. Halfway into the baking, slip the collar over the crust (as shown). Leave it on until the pie is done.

Aluminum Foil as Glassware Scrubber

To get baked-on food off a glass pan or an oven rack, use dishwashing liquid and a ball of foil in place of a steel-wool soap pad, says Mary Findley, president of the cleaning-products developer Mary Moppins. It’s one way to recycle those used but perfectly good pieces of foil you hate to throw out.

  

 

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Posted: Feb 1, 2010 10:50am
Feb 1, 2010
Use Lemon to:

1. Sanitize a chopping block. Run a slice of lemon over the surface to disinfect.
2. Eliminate the browning that occurs when food sits out too long. Sprinkle apple or pear slices with lemon juice before serving, or squeeze a bit into guacamole and give it a stir.
3. Remove tough food stains from plastic and light-colored wooden cutting boards. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with water.
4. Fade tea stains on cloth. Dilute lemon juice with an equal amount of water. Use an eyedropper or a Q-tip to make sure the juice targets the stain. Thoroughly flush with cool water.
5. Decorate on the cheap. Fill a glass bowl with lemons for a sunny centerpiece. Or display a row of them along a windowsill.
6. Relieve a sore throat. Cut a lemon in half. Skewer one half over a medium flame on a gas stove or an electric burner set on high and roast until the peel turns golden brown. Let cool slightly, then mix the juice with 1 teaspoon of honey. Swallow the mixture.
7. Whiten fingernails. Rub a wedge on the surface of your nails.
8. Shine the interior of copper cookware. Sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub.
9. Brighten laundry whites. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle of a normal-size load.
10. Remove soft cheese or other sticky foods from a grater. Rub both sides of the grater with the pulp side of a cut lemon.

Use Newspaper to:

1. Deodorize food containers. Stuff a balled-up piece of newspaper into a lunch box or thermos, seal it, and let sit overnight.
2. Ripen tomatoes. Wrap them individually and leave them out at room temperature.
3. Pack delicate items.Wrap frames and figurines with several pieces of newspaper, then crumple the remaining sections to fill extra space in the box.
4. Wipe away tough streaks on glass. Use newspaper with cleaning fluid to clean mirrors and windows.
5. Preserve antique glass. Some older frames have finishes on the glass that can be damaged by cleaning solutions. Remove smudges by rubbing with newspaper dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and one part warm water. Let air-dry.
6. Dry shoes. Place crumpled paper in them overnight.
7. Wrap gifts. Use the comics to wrap a child’s birthday gift, or try the wedding announcements for an engagement gift.
8. Create a home for slushy snow boots. During the winter, keep a pile of newspaper near the entryway. When your little snowmen and -women come home, they can toss their winter wear onto the newspaper instead of creating puddles on the floor.
9. Prepare a garden. In the fall, mow a patch of lawn to make room for a dedicated bed. Cover it with four layers of newspaper, then a four-inch layer of shredded leaves or bark mulch. Hose it down. Come spring, the compost blanket will have smothered the grass roots, and the bed will be primed for planting.
10. Keep the refrigerator vegetable drawer dry and free of smells. Line the bottom with newspaper.

Use Olive Oil to:

1. Shave. Olive oil can provide a closer shave when used in place of shaving cream.
2. Shine stainless steel. Many cleaning standbys, such as ammonia, can dull and even corrode chrome and stainless steel. Olive oil, however, is a safe and effective shining agent.
3. Remove eye makeup. Dab a little under the eyes and rinse off with a washcloth.
4. Prevent wax from sticking to a candle holder. Rub a thin coat on the base of the holder before inserting a candle. Dripped wax should peel away easily.
5. Care for your pet. Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to your cat’s food to help prevent hair balls.
6. Moisturize cuticles. Apply a small amount of olive oil to the nail beds.
7. Treat dry skin. Rub a thin layer over the skin after a shower or a waxing.
8. Unstick a zipper. Using a Q-tip, apply a drop to lubricate the teeth. (Avoid touching the fabric.) The zipper should move up and down freely.
9. Dust wooden furniture. Apply a bit of oil to a cloth and wipe.
10. Silence squeaky doors. Lubricate hinges by applying a small dab to a cloth, then wiping the top of the hinges so that the oil runs down the sides.

Use Dryer Sheets to:

1. Freshen smelly shoes. Insert a dryer sheet into the offending pair and let sit overnight.
2. Remove static from clothing, hair, TV screens, and computer monitors. Wipe the surface with a sheet.
3. Clean pet hair from the floor or furniture. Rub a dryer sheet over the spot where Fluffy left her fur.
4. Replace a sachet. Keep a dresser drawer smelling fresh and clean by placing a dryer sheet on the bottom of it.
5. Loosen caked-on food from a pan. Place a fresh sheet in the bottom of a dirty pan, fill with lukewarm tap water, and let sit in the sink overnight. The pan will be easier to clean in the morning.
6. Tackle suitcase and gym-bag odors. Place a dryer sheet in your suitcase or gym bag so your clean clothes won’t take on the odors of the dirty ones.
7. Prevent old books from smelling musty when in storage. Stick a dryer sheet between the pages of your beloved copy of Pride and Prejudice.
8. Wipe up sawdust after working in the garage. Rub a dryer sheet over the fine wood particles.
9. Prevent thread from tangling when sewing. Run a threaded needle through a dryer sheet right before you begin your handiwork.
10. Dust venetian blinds. Close the blinds, then wipe up and down with a dryer sheet.

Use Coffee Filters to:

1. Diffuse the flash on a camera. When you’re taking a close-up, soften the brightness by placing a coffee filter over the flash.
2. Strain wine from a bottle with a broken cork. Place the filter over a pitcher or a carafe and slowly pour the wine into it.
3. Serve popcorn or other snacks. The filters act as disposable bowls, so there’s no dishwashing.
4. Make yogurt dip. Use a rubber band to secure a paper coffee filter over the mouth of a deep cup or jar. Slowly pour 8 ounces of plain yogurt onto the filter. Let drain for one hour. In a bowl, mix the thickened yogurt with 1 small minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers.
5. Heat up leftovers in the microwave. Use a filter as the protective covering over a bowl or a plate.
6. Prevent soil from draining out of flowerpots. When repotting, place a filter at the bottom, over the drainage hole, then add the soil.
7. Prevent scuffs and scratches on fine china. Use flattened coffee filters as spacers when you stack your dishes.
8. Protect hands from Popsicle drippage. Slide the wooden stick of an ice pop through a coffee filter so your hands stay mess-free.
9. Serve pita sandwiches. A circular filter is the perfect size for carrying a sandwich on the go.
10. Clean windows and glass when you’re out of paper towels. Coffee filters leave no lint or other residue.

Use Velcro to:

1. Hang pieces of art or photos on a wall. Stick several strips of Velcro to the wall and to the back of a lightweight frame.
2. Prevent a jacket or a blouse from gaping open. Sew small pieces of Velcro between the buttons to create a smooth surface.
3. Keep a rug in place. Stick pieces of Velcro to the floor and to the bottom of the rug.
4. Stop seat cushions from sliding off kitchen chairs. Place strips of Velcro on the chair and on the cushion.
5. Organize toys. Affix a Velcro strip to the wall and Velcro pieces to stuffed animals to make cleanup fun for toddlers.
6. Keep track of the remote. Use Velcro to attach the remote to the side of the TV when it’s not in use.
7. Remove pills from sweaters. Use the hook side of Velcro to pull off pesky balls.
8. Restrain wayward cords. Keep them in one place with a strip of Velcro.
9. Keep a pen or paper handy. Place a small piece of Velcro next to a desk calendar and on a pen so you can jot down to-dos ASAP. In the car, stick a notepad to the dashboard or the door of the glove compartment and you’ll always have paper for a brilliant thought or a last-minute errand.
10. Picnic in peace. Keep a tablecloth from flying away by applying Velcro to the underside of the cloth and to the picnic table.

Use White Vinegar to:

1. Pinch-hit for lemon in a savory recipe. Use 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar in place of 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
2. Remove coffee or tea stains from the bottom of a cup. Swish 2 tablespoons of vinegar around in the cup, then wash as usual.
3. Treat oily hair. Vinegar is a good degreaser for oily hair because it helps adjust pH levels. Shampoo your hair as usual, rinse, then pour 1/4 cup over it and rinse again.
4. Wipe salt stains off boots. Dip a cloth or an old T-shirt into vinegar, then wipe away the white residue.
5. Make wool sweaters fluffier. Drop in a couple of capfuls of vinegar during the rinse cycle for an extra-soft feel.
6. Deodorize a garbage disposal. Make vinegar ice cubes and feed them down the disposal. After grinding, run cold water through the drain.
7. Clean a teakettle or a coffeemaker. Boil a mixture of water and vinegar in a teakettle, then wipe away the grime. Fill the reservoir of a coffeemaker with a mixture of vinegar and water and run it through a brewing cycle. Follow this with several cycles of water to rinse thoroughly.
8. Clean a dishwasher. Once a month, with the machine empty, run a cup of vinegar through an entire cycle to reduce soap buildup on the inner mechanisms and glassware.
9. Remove stubborn price tags or stickers. Paint them with several coats of vinegar, let the liquid soak in for five minutes, then wipe away the residue.
10. Kill weeds between cracks in paving stones and sidewalks. Fill a spray bottle with straight vinegar and spray multiple times. (Be careful not to get any on the surrounding grass, as it will kill that too.)

 Use Baking Soda to:

1. Exfoliate skin. Wash your face, then apply a soft paste made of three parts baking soda and one part water. Massage gently with a circular motion, avoiding the eye area; rinse clean.
2. Erase crayon, pencil, ink, and furniture scuffs from painted surfaces. Sprinkle soda on a damp sponge, rub clean, and rinse.
3. Unclog a drain. Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then slowly pour 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar after it. Let sit for five minutes (covered, if possible). Follow with a gallon of boiling water.
4. Remove tough stains from enameled cast iron and stainless steel. Scrub enameled cast iron with a soft nylon brush and a thick paste of baking soda and water. Clean stainless steel with a soft cloth and 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of water. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
5. Scrub pans. Sprinkle soda on crusted casseroles and roasting pans and let sit for five minutes. Lightly scrub and rinse.
6. Brush teeth. Use a paste of baking soda and water.
7. Fight class-B fires (flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, and grease). Baking soda can be used to smother only a small flame.
8. Deodorize. Dust baking soda under your arms to absorb body odor.
9. Clean up minor oil and grease spills on a garage floor or driveway. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.
10. Settle a stomach during occasional indigestion. Stir 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda into 1/2 cup of water and drink for a safe and effective antacid.

Use Ziploc Bags to:

1. Knead dough. Place dough in a Ziploc bag so your fingers don’t get sticky. Or slip your hand into the bag and wear it like a glove.
2. Store panty hose. Nude, Tan, Nearly Naked―they look the same out of the package. Tear off the corner of the package listing the brand, size, and color, then slip it into a bag. Store each pair in its own bag to keep hose organized and prevent snags.
3. Remove chewing gum or candle wax from a tablecloth, a couch, or carpeting. Gently rub gum or wax with a Ziploc bag filled with ice cubes until the substance hardens. Shatter gum with a blunt object, then vacuum up the chips. Carefully peel off frozen wax with a plastic spatula.
4. Pipe frosting. Snip off a tiny corner to use a Ziploc as a pastry bag.
5. Store homemade soup. Fill up bags, then lay them flat in the freezer. When the bags of soup freeze flat, you’ll be able to pile them up like stacked books for easy, space-saving storage.
6. Protect precious cargo. No bubble wrap? Slip a straw into the top of a nearly closed Ziploc bag and inflate. Remove the straw and seal to make a cushion. (Heirlooms, however, should wait for that bubble wrap.)
7. Break up graham crackers or vanilla wafers to make a piecrust. Fill a bag with the cookies, then roll a rolling pin over it.
8. Prevent a handbag from turning into a snow globe. Store pressed powder and other compacts in Ziploc bags.
9. Gather herbs from the garden. Before winter frost sets in, wash, pat dry, and freeze the herbs in Ziploc bags.
10. Ice an injury. Fill a bag with ice cubes to create a cold compress.

Use Salt to: 

1. Make eggs or cream whip up faster and higher. Add a pinch of salt before beating.
2. De-ice sidewalks. In a pinch, it can be used as a substitute for rock salt.
3. Keep chicken or turkey moist. Rub salt in the cavity of the bird before cooking.
4. Prevent sautés made with eggplant or zucchini from getting watery. Sprinkle salt on these vegetables before cooking.
5. Eliminate sticky residue from an iron. Run the hot iron (no steam) over plain paper sprinkled with salt.
6. Clean drains. Pour a hot, strong solution (1/2 cup salt for every quart of water) down the drain.
7. Remove dirt from leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Wash the vegetables in a bath of salt water.
8. Prevent frost from accumulating inside car windows. Rub the glass with a solution of 2 teaspoons of salt in 1 gallon of hot water. Wipe dry.
9. Remove sangria and red-wine stains from your washables. Stretch the fabric over a bowl, cover the stain with salt, and carefully pour boiling water over it.
10. Keep shells from cracking when boiling eggs. Add a few pinches of salt to the water.
11. Chill a bottle of bubbly―fast. Place ice around its base in an ice bucket; sprinkle with a few tablespoons of salt. Layer salt and ice until they reach the neck. Fill with water. Wait 10 minutes; serve

 

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Posted: Feb 1, 2010 10:39am
Feb 1, 2010
Vodka

Use it for: Foot odor

If your feet smell less than swell, wipe them down with a vodka-soaked washcloth to get rid of the stench. It's the same principle as rubbing alcohol (which works equally well if you'd rather drink your Grey Goose). Vodka contains alcohol, which is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odor-causing fungus and bacteria and dries out the moisture that lets these organisms grow.

Pencil

Use it for: Headaches

When you’re stressed or anxious, you subconsciously clench your jaw and teeth; this strains the muscle that connects your jaw to your temples and can trigger a tension headache. A solution: "Put a pencil between your teeth but don’t bite," says Fred Sheftell, MD, director of the New England Center for Headache in Stamford, CT. You automatically relax your jaw muscle to do this, which can prevent the pain.

Yogurt

Use it for: Bad breath

Preliminary research shows that the live bacteria in yogurt can suppress levels of bad breath–causing bacteria. "Good" bugs in yogurt may crowd out the "bad" stink-causing bacteria or create an unhealthy environment for it, says John C. Moon, DDS, a cosmetic and general dentist in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Listerine

Use it for: Blisters

The classic breath freshener — and powerful antiseptic — can also do a number on blisters. Moisten a cotton ball with Listerine and dab it on your blister 3 times a day until the area dries out and no longer hurts, says Janet Maccaro, PhD, CNC, a holistic nutritionist and certified nutrition consultant in Scottsdale, AZ.

Lemon balm tea

Use it for: Cold sores

Lemon balm is a first-choice herbal treatment for cold sores, which are caused by a type of herpes virus (not the same kind that’s sexually transmitted). It has antiviral properties that work to tame herpes outbreaks, says James Duke, PhD, author of "The Green Pharmacy." Prepare lemon balm tea by brewing 2 to 4 tablespoons of the herb per cup of boiling water. Let it cool, then dot with a cotton ball on the cold sore several times a day.

Licorice

Use it for: Calluses and corns

"Licorice contains estrogen-like substances that soften the hard skin of calluses and corns," says Georgianna Donadio, PhD, director of the National Institute of Whole Health. Make this homemade licorice paste: Grind up a few licorice sticks, mix them with 1/2 teaspoon of petroleum jelly, and rub the mixture into the rough areas of your feet.

Tennis ball

Use it for: Achy feet

For an easy, free mini massage that stretches and soothes your arches, slip off your shoes and roll each foot over a tennis ball, golf ball, or soup can for a minute or two. To cool throbbing feet, roll them over a bottle of frozen water.

Sugar

Use it for: Hiccups

A teaspoon of sugar swallowed dry can stop hiccups in minutes, says Andre Dubois, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in the emerging infectious diseases graduate program at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. The sugar is believed to modify the nerve muscles that would otherwise tell the muscles in the diaphragm to contract spasmodically and contribute to hiccups.

iPod

Use it for: High blood pressure

Thirty minutes of the right tunes every day can help lower BP, according to research from the University of Florence in Italy. Researchers found that people on a medication for hypertension further lowered their blood pressure after they listened to music while breathing slowly. Systolic readings (the first number) decreased an average of 3.2 points in a week; a month later, readings were down 4.4 points.

Olives or lemons

Use it for: Motion sickness

Motion sickness causes you to produce excess saliva, which can make you nauseated, some doctors say. Compounds in olives called tannins dry out your mouth and can help soothe the queasies. Pop a couple at the first hint of nausea; sucking on a lemon can also do the trick.

Vegetable oil

Use it for: Brittle nails

In order to really fix dry nails, you have to address the problem of too-little moisture. In addition to using hand lotion regularly, try this nighttime treatment from dermatologist Dee Anna Glaser, MD: Before you go to bed, apply vegetable oil to your hands, then put on vinyl gloves or wrap your hands in plastic wrap to keep the oil off your bedding. The hand coverings force the oil to penetrate your skin, preventing your hands and nails from getting too dry.

Ice cream

Use it for: Pizza burn

The tissue on the roof of your mouth is only a few millimeters thick, so it’s very sensitive to hot foods. If you didn’t wait to let that pepperoni slice cool down, soothe your scorched mouth with a spoonful of ice cream or frozen yogurt. "The cool can bring temporary relief," says Richard Antaya, MD. Swigging a cold drink or putting an ice cube in your mouth should also do the trick, but be sure to remove the cube quickly before it becomes painful.

Peppermint or cinnamon gum

Use it for: The stress of a traffic-packed commute

In a NASA-funded study, scientists from Wheeling Jesuit University monitored the responses of 25 college students during simulated driving scenarios. The volunteers reported that peppermint lowered their feelings of fatigue or anxiety by 20 percent. Peppermint and cinnamon each decreased frustration by percent, increased alertness by 30 percent, and made the ride seem 30 percent shorter. Not a gum or candy person? Buy peppermint or cinnamon aromatherapy diffusers for the car.

Apple

Use it for: Whiter teeth

Crunchy fruits and vegetables act as little toothbrushes when you chew them; they have a natural cleansing action that works on tooth enamel to remove stains. In particular, "apples have a gentle malic acid that also helps dissolve stains," says Jennifer Jabow, DDS, of Park 56 Dental in New York City.

Baking soda

Use it for: Urinary tract infections

At the first sign of symptoms, drink a solution made with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda mixed in 8 ounces of water. Continue this once a day until you can get a culture done at a doctor’s office and start antibiotics. Baking soda makes the bladder environment more alkaline, which reduces bacteria's ability to multiply, says Larrian Gillespie, MD, a retired assistant clinical professor of urology and urogynecology in Los Angeles.

Cloves

Use it for: Cuts

Sprinkle powdered cloves on a cut to keep it from becoming infected, says Duke. Clove oil is rich in eugenol, a chemical that’s both antiseptic and pain-killing.

Papaya

Use it for: Smoother skin

This tropical fruit contains papain, a protein-eating enzyme that dissolves the dead cells on your skin's surface that can make it look dull and rough and leave it prone to breakouts. When used twice a month, this peel leaves skin softer, smoother, and more radiant:

Grind 2 tablespoons of washed and peeled papaya in a food processor and add 1 tablespoon of dry oatmeal. Pat this mixture onto clean skin and let it set for 10 minutes before wiping off with a wet washcloth. The enzymes in papaya are gentle, which is why this is an ideal treatment for those with sensitive skin. However, to be safe, do a test spot behind your ear the first time you try it.

Duct tape

Use it for: Warts

Yes, this really does work! Covering warts with duct tape eliminates them better than freezing them off, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. In the study, the duct tape eliminated 85% of the warts after 2 months, compared with 60% with the freezing method.

To use duct tape safely, clean the area. Then cut a piece of duct tape to a size slightly bigger than the wart. Apply the duct tape to the site and rub into place. Every 3 days, remove the tape and file down dead skin with a pumice stone or nail file. Repeat until the wart disappears. Chemicals in the tape suffocate and kill the wart.

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Posted: Feb 1, 2010 10:25am
Feb 1, 2010
Category: Cookies

Cherry-Nut Mudslides

Yields: 5 dozen cookies

Total Time: 1 hr 45 min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup(s) hazelnuts
  • 2 pound(s) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 ounce(s) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup(s) flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup(s) salted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 cup(s) chopped dried cherries
  • Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toast the hazelnuts in a pie plate for 12 minutes, until the skins blister. Transfer to a towel and rub to remove the skins. Coarsely chop the nuts.
    2. In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt 1 pound of the bittersweet chocolate with all of the unsweetened chocolate. Let cool completely.
    3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the sugar until sandy. Beat in the eggs, then beat in the melted chocolate. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Fold in the pistachios, cherries, hazelnuts, and the remaining bittersweet chocolate.
    4. For each cookie, scoop 2 tablespoons of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roll into a ball; space them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake in batches for 15 minutes, just until the tops are lightly cracked; shift the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even baking. Transfer the sheets to racks to cool slightly, then transfer the cookies to a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Chocolate-Malt Sandwiches

    Yields: Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

    Ingredients

    • 2 cup(s) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup(s) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup(s) plain malted milk powder (for cookies)
    • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
    • 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (for cookies)
    • 1 3/4 cup(s) sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract (for cookies)
    • 1/4 cup(s) crème fraîche
    • 3 tablespoon(s) hot water
    • 10 ounce(s) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 4 tablespoon(s) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (for filling)
    • 1 cup(s) plain malted milk powder (for filling)
    • 3 ounce(s) cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup(s) plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half
    • 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract (for filling)

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make cookies: Sift together flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, crème fraîche, and hot water. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture.
    2. Space tablespoon-size balls of dough 3 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake until flat and just firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
    3. Making filling: Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring. Let cool. With an electric mixer, beat malted milk powder and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually mix in half-and-half, chocolate mixture, and vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, until thick, about 30 minutes. Mix on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    4. Assemble cookies: Spread a heaping tablespoon filling on the bottom of one cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat. Cookies can be refrigerated between layers of parchment in airtight containers up to 3 days.

    Whoopie Pies

    Yields: 12 pies

    Cook Time: 12 min

    Oven Temp: 350

    Ingredients

    Cookie Dough:

    • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup(s) sugar
    • 3/4 cup(s) milk
    • 1/2 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
    • 6 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine, melted
    • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
    • 1 large egg

    Marshmallow Creme Filling:

    • 6 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine, slightly softened
    • 1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
    • 1 jar(s) (7- to 7 1/2-ounce) marshmallow creme
    • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 large cookie sheets.
    2. Prepare Cookie Dough: In large bowl, with spoon, mix all dough ingredients until smooth.
    3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart, on each prepared cookie sheet. (There will be 12 rounds per sheet.)
    4. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheets between upper and lower racks halfway through baking, until puffy and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. With wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
    5. Prepare Marshmallow Creme Filling: In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter until smooth. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Beat in marshmallow creme and vanilla until smooth.
    6. Spread 1 rounded tablespoon filling on flat side of 12 cookies. Top with remaining cookies.

    Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

    Yields: 2 dozen cookies

    Total Time: 45 min

    Prep Time: 20 min

    Oven Temp: 350

    Ingredients

  • 8 ounce(s) semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup(s) (packed) light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 package(s) (12-ounce) semisweet chocolate chunks
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
    2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
    3. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool completely.

    Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies

    Serves: 10

    Total Time: 3 hr 30 min

    Prep Time: 40 min

    Cook Time: 30 min

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 3/4 cup(s) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoon(s) cool unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • Directions

    1. Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
    2. Blend brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined and still a little grainy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg white and vanilla until smooth. Turn the mixer off; add the flour mixture then beat at low speed until well combined (the dough will still be crumbly). Gather the dough into a ball using your hands.
    3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour, turn the ball of dough out onto it and form into an 8-inch-long log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 weeks (see Tip).
    4. When ready to bake, position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
    5. Unwrap the log and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, rolling the log as you slice to prevent it from flattening. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, until just beginning to crack along the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
    6. Related Recipe: Chocolate Malt Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Chocolate Malt Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Serves: 10

    Total Time: 1 hr 10 min

    Prep Time: 10 min

    Ingredients

  • 1 quart(s) Chocolate Malt Ice Cream (recipe follows)
  • 30 Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies(above)
  • Directions

    1. Spoon 1/4 cup ice cream onto one cookie; sandwich with a second cookie. Repeat with the remainder of the ice cream and cookies. (You may have a little ice cream left over.) Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 1 hour. Individually wrap in plastic once the ice cream is firm.
    2. Related Recipe: Chocolate Malt Ice Cream

    Chocolate Malt Ice Cream

    Serves: 10

    Total Time: 3 hr 45 min

    Cook Time: 20 min

    Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup(s) skim milk
  • 2/3 cup(s) sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) nonfat dry milk
  • 1/2 cup(s) malted-milk powder
  • 3 1/2 ounce(s) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup(s) pasteurized liquid egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • Directions

    1. Blend milk, sugar, dry milk, malted-milk powder and chocolate in a blender until fairly smooth. Pour into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking almost constantly. Remove from the heat.
    2. Pour egg whites into a large bowl and whisk in the milk mixture in a slow, steady stream until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until cool, at least 3 hours or overnight.
    3. Freeze the ice cream mixture in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's directions. If using the ice cream for sandwiches, freeze until it's firm enough to hold a scoop shape.

    Chocolate-Mint Thumbprints

    Yields: 44 cookies

    Total Time: 2 hr 30 min
    Ingredients
  • 2 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounce(s) mint chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup(s) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 stick(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup(s) coarse sugar such as Turbinado, for rolling
  • 3 ounce(s) white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon(s) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) pure peppermint extract
  • Directions

    1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the bittersweet and mint chocolates in 30-second intervals until nearly melted. Whisk until smooth, then let cool. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa and salt.
    2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter until creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Scrape the chocolate into the mixer and beat just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally, until smooth. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a 7-inch disk; wrap it up and refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.
    3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spread the coarse sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop up tablespoons of the dough and roll them into balls, then roll in the coarse sugar; transfer to the baking sheets. Using your thumb or a melon baller, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until slightly firm. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven. Using the melon baller, press into the cookies again. Return the cookies to the oven, shifting the cookie sheets, and bake for 5 minutes longer, just until dry but not hard. Transfer the cookie sheets to racks to cool completely.
    4. Put the white chocolate in a heatproof cup. Put the cream into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at high power until boiling, about 30 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and let stand until melted, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Fill the thumbprints with the white-chocolate ganache and refrigerate just until set, about 30 minutes.

    Double Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chewies

    Yields: 3 dozen cookies

    Total Time: 1 hr 30 min

    Prep Time: 1 hr

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup(s) chunky natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup(s) canola oil
  • 1/2 cup(s) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoon(s) low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup(s) rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 cup(s) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup(s) trans-fat-free peanut butter chips, such as Sunspire
  • 1/4 cup(s) turbinado sugar (see Tips & Techniques)
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Beat peanut butter, oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until the sugars are blended. Beat in eggs, yogurt, and vanilla until combined.
    3. Whisk flour, cocoa, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture until blended. (It will be sticky.) Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips.
    4. Using a small cookie scoop or slightly rounded tablespoons of dough, place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
    5. Dip the bottom of a glass in water and then in turbinado sugar. Use the sugared glass to flatten the cookies slightly, leaving a thin layer of sugar on top, rewetting the glass as needed.
    6. Bake the cookies in batches until they are just set and the tops appear cracked, 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not overbake or they will be dry.) Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

    Tips & Techniques

    Turbinado sugar is steam-cleaned raw cane sugar. It's coarse-grained and light brown in color, with a slight molasses flavor. Find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or at natural-foods stores.

    Chocolate Coconut Meringues

    Yields: 30 cookies

    Total Time: 3 hr

    Prep Time: 25 min

    Ingredients

    • 4 large egg whites
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) cream of tartar
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) coconut extract or imitation coconut extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) almond extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
    • 1/8 teaspoon(s) salt
    • 1 cup(s) sugar
    • 1/4 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tablespoon(s) semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
    • 2 tablespoon(s) trans-fat-free white chocolate chips or finely chopped white chocolate, such as Sunspire

    Directions

    1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
    2. ,Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, coconut, almond and vanilla extracts, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until combined. Gradually beat in sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff, shiny peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes.
    3. Sift cocoa over the mixture and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until combined.
    4. Spoon the meringue into a gallon-size sealable bag (or pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip). Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Cut a 1/2-inch hole in one corner of the bag. Pipe the meringue into 2-inch circles, about 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets.
    5. Bake on the upper and lower racks for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the meringues stand in the oven with the door closed until completely dry, about 1 1/2 hours.
    6. Melt semisweet and white chocolate (see Tips & Techniques) and drizzle or pipe onto the cooled meringues. Let stand until it sets.

    Tips & Techniques

    To melt chocolate, place chocolate in a bowl and microwave on Medium for 45 seconds. Stir; continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until almost melted, stirring after each interval. Continue stirring until completely melted. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted. To decorate cookies with melted chocolate, use a pastry bag fitted with a fine writing tip to pipe the melted chocolate or dip tines of a fork in chocolate and drizzle. You can improvise a pastry bag with a small plastic bag. Add melted chocolate to the bag, cut a tiny hole in one corner and squeeze the chocolate out.

    Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies

    Yields: About 40 large cookies or 20 sandwich cookies

    Total Time: 5 hr

     Ingredients

    Cookies

    • 3 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/3 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger
    • 2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cloves
    • 1 tablespoon(s) baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
    • 5 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup(s) solid vegetable shortening
    • 1/2 cup(s) packed dark brown sugar
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup(s) molasses
    • 2 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

    Icing

    • 1 1/4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
    • 1 large egg white
    • 1 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
    • Mascarpone Filling, optional

    Directions

    1. Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the softened butter with the shortening at medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    2. Add the egg to the cookie batter and beat until incorporated. Beat in the molasses and then the melted bittersweet chocolate. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating between additions. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into a disk, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate the cookie dough until chilled, about 2 hours.
    3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the dough scraps and cut out more cookies.
    4. Bake the cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking until the tops are dry. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
    5. Make the icing: In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar with the egg white and lemon juice and whisk until the icing is completely smooth.
    6. Scrape the Mascarpone Filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium tip. Turn half of the gingerbread cookies flat side up and pipe a thin layer of filling over the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, flat side down.
    7. Scrape the icing into a piping bag fitted with a very small tip. Decorate the cookies as desired. Let stand until the icing dries, about 30 minutes.

    Mascarpone Filling

    Yields: About 2 cups

    Total Time: 2 hr

     Ingredients

  • 1 stick(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 container(s) (8-ounce) mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 3 cup(s) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • Directions

    1. In a bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the mascarpone cheese until combined. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Refrigerate the filling until it is slightly firm, about 2 hours.

     Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

    Yields: 15 cookies

    Oven Temp: 350

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 ounce(s) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 ounce(s) (about 1 cup) salted shelled pistachios, ground to a paste in a food processor
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 6 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • Visibility: Everyone
    Tags:
    Posted: Feb 1, 2010 9:10am
    Feb 1, 2010
    Category: Chocolate
    Special Considerations: Low Calorie

    Chocolate Nut Bark

    Yields: 3 dozen 1 1/2-inch pieces

    Total Time: 35 min

    Prep Time: 10 min

    Ingredients
  • 2 cup(s) semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate chips, melted (see Tips & Techniques)
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) assorted nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews, plus more for garnish
  • Directions

    1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles.) Combine melted chocolate and nuts in a medium bowl. Scrape the mixture onto the foil and spread it into an approximate 12-by-9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with additional finely chopped nuts, if desired. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
    2. Transfer the bark and foil to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

    Tips & Techniques

    To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.

    Nutritional Information
    (per serving)

    Calories74Total Fat5gSaturated Fat2gCholesterol--Sodium1mgTotal Carbohydrate--Dietary Fiber1gSugars--Protein1gCalcium--

    Thick and Rich Hot Cocoa

    Yields: 6 servings, generous 1/3 cup each

    Total Time: 10 min

    Prep Time: 10 min

    Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup(s) nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • Directions

    1. Combine milk, cocoa, sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until steaming. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil, then remove from the heat.

    Nutritional Information
    (per serving)

    Calories98Total Fat2gSaturated Fat1gCholesterol6mgSodium50mgTotal Carbohydrate19gDietary Fiber2gSugars--Protein5gCalcium--

    Chocolate-Covered Brownie Bites

    Yields: 64 brownie bites

    Total Time: 45 min

    Prep Time: 15 min

    Ingredients

  • 1 8-inch-square pan chilled brownies, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 cup(s) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tips & Techniques)
  • Directions

    1. Dip half of each brownie square in melted chocolate, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. (Reheat chocolate, as needed, to keep it melted.) Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

    Tips & Techniques

    To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted. 

    Nutritional Information
    (per serving)

    Calories38Total Fat2gSaturated Fat1gCholesterol4mgSodium6mgTotal Carbohydrate--Dietary Fiber--Sugars--Protein1gCalcium--

    Frozen Chocolate-Covered Bananas

    Yields: 12 servings

    Total Time: 2 hr 15 min

    Prep Time: 15 min

    Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe bananas, peeled and cut into thirds crosswise
  • 3/4 cup(s) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tips & Techniques)
  • 1/4 cup(s) shredded coconut
  • Directions

    1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Insert a Popsicle stick into the cut end of each banana third. Cover each piece of banana with melted chocolate using a rubber spatula and sprinkle with coconut. (Reheat chocolate, as needed, to keep it melted.) Place the bananas on the baking sheet and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours.

    Tips & Techniques

    To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.

    Nutritional Information
    (per serving)

    Calories100Total Fat4gSaturated Fat3gCholesterol--Sodium7mgTotal Carbohydrate--Dietary Fiber2gSugars--Protein1gCalcium--

     Baby Tiramisu

    Yields: 6 servings

    Total Time: 45 min

    Prep Time: 15 min

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup(s) nonfat ricotta cheese (4 ounces)
    • 2 tablespoon(s) confectioners' sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
    • 1/8 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
    • 12 ladyfingers (about 1 3/4 ounces)
    • 4 tablespoon(s) brewed espresso or strong coffee, divided
    • 2 tablespoon(s) bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tip)

    Directions

    1. Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
    2. Place 6 ladyfingers in a 9-by-5-inch (or similar size) loaf pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Spread the ricotta mixture over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of ladyfingers over the ricotta and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

    Tips & Techniques

    To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted. 

    Nutritional Information
    (per serving)

    Calories107Total Fat2gSaturated Fat1gCholesterol3mgSodium125mgTotal Carbohydrate18gDietary Fiber--Sugars--Protein3gCalcium--

    Peanut Butter and Pretzel Truffles

    Yields: 20 truffles

    Total Time: 2 hr

    Prep Time: 15 min

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup(s) crunchy natural peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup(s) finely chopped salted pretzels
    • 1/2 cup(s) milk chocolate chips, melted (see Tips & Techniques)

    Directions

    1. Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 20 balls (about 1 teaspoon each). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour. Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

    Tips & Techniques

    To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.

    Nutritional Information
    (per serving)

    Calories64Total Fat4gSaturated Fat1gCholesterol1mgSodium53mgTotal Carbohydrate--Dietary Fiber1gSugars--Protein2gCalcium--

    Quick Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

    1 dozen mini cheesecakes

    Total Time: 10 min

    Prep Time: 10 min

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup(s) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tips & Techniques)
  • 1/2 cup(s) part-skim ricotta
  • 12 chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1 tablespoon(s) 100% fruit jam, such as raspberry or cherry
  • Directions

    1. Combine melted chocolate and ricotta in a small bowl. Spoon a scant 1 tablespoon of the mixture on each chocolate wafer and top with 1/4 teaspoon jam.

    Tips & Techniques

    To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.

    Nutritional Information
    (per serving)

    Calories61Total Fat3gSaturated Fat1gCholesterol3mgSodium48mgTotal Carbohydrate--Dietary Fiber--Sugars--Protein2gCalcium--

    Visibility: Everyone
    Tags:
    Posted: Feb 1, 2010 8:34am
    Feb 1, 2010
    Category: Quick Dishes
    Prep Time: Less than 30 min
    Special Considerations: Vegetarian
    Jane's Vegetarian Chili

    "My mother, Jane Stevens, has been making the best-tasting vegetarian chili for years. She says it's a takeoff of her mom's recipe and thinks the Worcestershire gives it its unique flavor." -Melissa Ohlson, Kalamazoo, MI

    Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup)

    Ingredients
    • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
    • 2  cups  chopped onion
    • 3  garlic cloves, minced
    • 4  cups  water, divided
    • 2  tablespoons  sugar
    • 2  tablespoons  chili powder
    • 2  tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
    • 2  (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
    • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  (6-ounce) can tomato paste
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, (optional)
    Preparation

    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add 3 cups water and next 8 ingredients (through cannellini beans), stirring to combine.

    Combine remaining cup of water and tomato paste in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Stir tomato paste mixture into bean mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with cheese, if desired.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 276 (11% from fat)Fat: 3.5g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.3g,poly 1g) Protein: 12.7gCarbohydrate: 49.7gFiber: 14.7gCholesterol: 0.0mgIron: 4.2mgSodium: 587mgCalcium: 107mg

    Seared Tofu with Gingered Vegetables

    Drain the tofu while you cook the rice and prep the vegetables. This step ensures the tofu will brown nicely when it cooks. Radish sprouts add a fresh, peppery crunch. You can substitute broccoli sprouts or omit them altogether.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1/4 cup rice, 1 cup tofu mixture, 1/4 cup sprouts, and 1 tablespoon onions)

    Ingredients
    • 1  pound  reduced-fat extrafirm tofu
    • 1  (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
    • 3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided
    • 1  tablespoon  dark sesame oil, divided
    • 1  tablespoon  bottled minced garlic
    • 1  tablespoon  bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)
    • 1  large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1  cup  sliced green onions, divided
    • 2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
    • 1  tablespoon  low-sodium soy sauce
    • Cooking spray
    • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
    • 1  tablespoon  sesame seeds, toasted
    • 1  cup  radish sprouts
    Preparation

    Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; let stand 10 minutes. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.

    Prepare rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to rice; fluff with a fork.

    Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and bell pepper to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup onions, vinegar, and soy sauce; cook for 30 seconds. Remove from pan. Wipe skillet with paper towels; recoat pan with cooking spray.

    Place pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle tofu with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add tofu to pan; cook 8 minutes or until golden, turning to brown on all sides. Return bell pepper mixture to pan, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Drizzle tofu mixture with remaining 1 teaspoon oil; top with sesame seeds. Serve tofu mixture with rice; top with sprouts and remaining 1/4 cup onions.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 325 (28% from fat)Fat: 10.2g (sat 2.6g,mono 2.7g,poly 4.6g) Protein: 28.2gCarbohydrate: 41.6gFiber: 6.2gCholesterol: 0.0mgIron: 7.6mgSodium: 603mgCalcium: 96mg

    Macadamia Nut-Pesto Fettuccine

    This pesto gets its richness from half-and-half. The result is a creamy mixture similar to an Alfredo sauce but with pestolike flavor. Serve it with a tossed garden salad and a French bread baguette.

    Yield: 3 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)

    Ingredients
    • 1  (9-ounce) package fresh fettuccine
    • 3  cups  fresh basil leaves
    • 1/4  cup  half-and-half
    • 3  tablespoons  roasted macadamia nuts
    • 3  tablespoons  grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
    • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
    Preparation

    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

    While pasta cooks, place basil and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine basil mixture and pasta in a large bowl, tossing to coat.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 374 (30% from fat)Fat: 12.4g (sat 3.8g,mono 6.4g,poly 1.1g) Protein: 14.6gCarbohydrate: 51.5gFiber: 5.8gCholesterol: 77mgIron: 4.6mgSodium: 756mgCalcium: 197mg

    Vegetarian Chipotle Nachos

    The spicy bean mixture also makes a good filling for tacos and burritos. Look for meatless crumbles near the tofu and other soy products in the produce section.

    Yield: 6 servings

    Ingredients
    • Cooking spray
    • 1  cup  chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
    • 1  cup  chopped onion (about 1 medium)
    • 1  (12-ounce) package meatless fat-free crumbles (such as Lightlife Smart Ground)
    • 1  (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
    • 1  (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
    • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
    • 8  cups  baked corn tortilla chips (6 ounces)
    • 2  cups  shredded romaine lettuce
    • 1  cup  diced peeled avocado (about 1 medium)
    • 3/4  cup  vertically sliced red onion
    • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • 6  tablespoons  fat-free sour cream
    Preparation

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper, chopped onion, and crumbles; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove 1 chile and 1 tablespoon sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Chop chile; add chile, sauce, beans, and tomatoes to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Arrange 1 1/3 cups chips on each of 6 plates. Top each serving with 1 cup bean mixture, 1/3 cup lettuce, about 2 1/2 tablespoons avocado, 2 tablespoons onion, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 tablespoon sour cream.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 408 (26% from fat)Fat: 11.8g (sat 4g,mono 4.2g,poly 2.5g) Protein: 23.8gCarbohydrate: 53.7gFiber: 11gCholesterol: 16mgIron: 3.6mgSodium: 906mgCalcium: 316mg

    Roasted Red Pepper on Mini-Bagel Sandwiches

    "I came up with the idea for this after having a similar sandwich with roasted red pepper and fresh mozzarella. It's light, filling, and great for boxed lunches or on-the-go meals." -Kerri Kwist, Carrollton, TX

    Yield: 24 servings (serving size: half a sandwich)

    Ingredients
    • 3/4  cup  (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4  cup  (2 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4  cup  minced green onions
    • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 2  garlic cloves, minced
    • 12  mini bagels, halved and toasted
    • 1  (12-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
    Preparation

    Combine first 6 ingredients.

    Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cut sides of bagels. Arrange the chopped red bell peppers evenly over bottom halves of bagels; top with top halves of bagels. Cut each sandwich in half.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 62 (29% from fat)Fat: 2g (sat 1.1g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.2g) Protein: 2.6gCarbohydrate: 8.1gFiber: 0.4gCholesterol: 9mgIron: 0.6mgSodium: 173mgCalcium: 15mg

    Falafel Pitas with Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing

    Pack the cucumber-yogurt dressing in a separate container to serve with the sandwiches. Vegetable crudités such as bell pepper wedges and carrot or celery sticks will round out the meal. You can substitute fresh baby spinach for the arugula, if desired.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 filled pita half)

    Ingredients
    • 1/4  cup  minced red onion
    • 1  tablespoon  Dijon mustard
    • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
    • 1/2  teaspoon  paprika
    • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
    • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
    • 1  (1-ounce) slice whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
    • 1  large egg
    • 1  large egg white
    • 1 1/2  tablespoons  olive oil
    • 2  (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, split
    • 1  cup  arugula
    • 1/2  cup  Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing
    Preparation

    Combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 6 times or until well blended (mixture will be wet).

    Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon about 1/3 cup chickpea mixture per patty into pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

    Line each pita half with 1/4 cup arugula, add 1 patty to each pita half, and spoon 2 tablespoons Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing into each pita half.

    Note: Nutritional analysis includes Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 280 (30% from fat)Fat: 9.4g (sat 1.2g,mono 5g,poly 2.2g) Protein: 11.4gCarbohydrate: 40.1gFiber: 7.3gCholesterol: 53mgIron: 3.3mgSodium: 592mgCalcium: 81mg
    Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing

    This makes more than you need for the pita recipe, but it keeps for a couple of days in the refrigerator. It's tasty drizzled over sliced tomatoes, or pack it in your lunch later in the week as a dip for carrot sticks.

    Yield: about 1 1/2 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

    Ingredients

    • 1  cup  plain fat-free yogurt
    • 1/2  cup  diced seedless cucumber
    • 1/4  cup  minced red onion
    • 1  teaspoon  fresh lemon juice

    Preparation

    Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill

    Curried Tofu

    Serve with white rice or rice noodles and fresh orange slices.

    Yield: 3 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)

    Ingredients
    • 2  teaspoons  vegetable oil
    • 1  (15-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/2  cup  light coconut milk
    • 1  teaspoon  curry powder
    • 1  cup  precut matchstick-cut carrots
    • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
    • 1  (15 1/4-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
    • 1  medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh basil
    Preparation

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and sprinkle with salt. Cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from pan; keep warm.

    Add coconut milk and curry powder to pan, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add carrots, crushed red pepper, pineapple, and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tofu. Sprinkle with basil.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 171 (34% from fat)Fat: 6.4g (sat 2g,mono 0.9g,poly 2.4g) Protein: 8.9gCarbohydrate: 21.7gFiber: 3.6gCholesterol: 0.0mgIron: 2.7mgSodium: 508mgCalcium: 99mg

    Poblano, Mango, and Black Bean Quesadillas

    The sweetness of the mango balances the snappiness of the chile. Top quesadillas with fat-free sour cream and salsa, and serve with spinach and carrot salad.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 quesadilla)

    Ingredients
    • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
    • 1 1/2  cups  presliced onion
    • 1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
    • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 1  poblano chile, seeded and chopped
    • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  cup  jarred sliced peeled mango (such as Del Monte SunFresh)
    • 1/3  cup  cubed peeled avocado
    • 4  (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
    • Cooking spray
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
    Preparation

    Preheat broiler.

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, oregano, salt, pepper, and poblano, and sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beans; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in mango and avocado.

    Place flour tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Arrange about 3/4 cup bean mixture on half of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese over bean mixture, and fold tortilla in half. Lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until cheddar cheese melts.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 334 (25% from fat)Fat: 9.3g (sat 2.9g,mono 3.5g,poly 0.9g) Protein: 13.2gCarbohydrate: 54.5gFiber: 7.2gCholesterol: 10mgIron: 3mgSodium: 753mgCalcium: 253mg
    Grilled Portobello-Goat Cheese Pitas

    If the tomatoes are ripe, skip grilling them. Serve with a tropical fruit salad of mangoes, cantaloupe, and pineapple sprinkled with toasted coconut.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 topped pita)

    Ingredients
    • 1 1/2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
    • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
    • 4  (6-inch) pita rounds
    • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
    • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper, divided
    • 1  (6-ounce) package portobello mushrooms
    • 2  medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    • 1/3  cup  (3 ounces) goat cheese
    • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh basil
    Preparation

    Preheat a grill pan over medium heat.

    Combine garlic and oil; brush evenly over pitas. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper evenly over pitas. Place pitas in pan, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until toasted.

    Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper evenly over mushrooms and tomatoes. Place mushrooms in pan; cook 6 minutes or until tender, turning once. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add tomatoes to pan; cook 1 minute.

    Spread goat cheese evenly over pitas. Arrange the mushrooms and tomatoes evenly over pitas. Sprinkle with chopped basil.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 283 (27% from fat)Fat: 8.5g (sat 4.7g,mono 2.4g,poly 0.7g) Protein: 11.9gCarbohydrate: 39.8gFiber: 2.9gCholesterol: 17mgIron: 2.7mgSodium: 731mgCalcium: 133mg

    Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta Cheese

    The oil in the sun-dried tomatoes gives the almond-spiced pesto a rich consistency.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

    Ingredients
    • 1  (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh linguine
    • 3/4  cup  oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained
    • 1/4  cup  loosely packed basil leaves
    • 2  tablespoons  slivered almonds
    • 2  tablespoons  preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese
    • 1  tablespoon  bottled minced garlic
    • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
    Preparation

    Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.

    While pasta cooks, place tomatoes and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.

    Combine tomato mixture and the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk. Add to pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta.

    Nutritional Information Calories: 300 (30% from fat)Fat: 9.9g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.9g,poly 1.6g) Protein: 12.3gCarbohydrate: 42gFiber: 4.3gCholesterol: 61mgIron: 3.1mgSodium: 570mgCalcium: 141mg

    Insalata Pizzas

    Savor the tastes of Italy by serving individual pita pizzas loaded with fresh vegetables, melted cheese, and a cider vinegar sauce. It's a one-dish meal that's sure to please.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 topped pita)

    Ingredients
    • 4  (7-inch) pitas
    • 2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
    • 1  cup  (4 ounces) preshredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2  cup  thinly sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
    • 1  tablespoon  cider vinegar
    • 2  teaspoons  extravirgin olive oil
    • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
    • 1  cup  quartered grape tomatoes
    • 1/4  cup  pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
    • 2  tablespoons  chopped basil leaves
    • 4  cups  packaged gourmet salad greens
    Preparation

    Preheat oven to 475°.

    Place pitas on a baking sheet. Spread 1/2 teaspoon garlic on each pita. Sprinkle each pita with 1/4 cup cheese, and divide onion evenly among pitas. Bake at 475° for 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.

    While pitas bake, combine vinegar, oil, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in tomatoes, olives, and basil. Add salad greens, and toss gently to coat.

    Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each pita with about 1 cup salad. Serve immediately.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 319 (31% from fat)Fat: 10.9g (sat 3.7g,mono 5.4g,poly 1.2g) Protein: 14.1gCarbohydrate: 41.5gFiber: 3.6gCholesterol: 16mgIron: 2.8mgSodium: 656mgCalcium: 279mg

    Warm Tortellini and Cherry Tomato Salad

    Extravirgin olive oil and two kinds of vinegar make an easy, classic dressing for this pasta-and-vegetable salad. You can also try this with chicken or mushroom tortellini or cheese ravioli.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

    Ingredients
    • 2  (9-ounce) packages fresh cheese tortellini
    • 1 1/2  cups  (1 1/2-inch-long) slices fresh asparagus (about 1 pound)
    • 3  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
    • 1  tablespoon  balsamic vinegar
    • 1  tablespoon  extravirgin olive oil
    • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 4  cups  trimmed arugula
    • 1 1/2  cups  halved cherry tomatoes
    • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) pregrated fresh Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2  cup  thinly sliced red onion
    • 1/3  cup  thinly sliced fresh basil
    • 1  (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
    Preparation

    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus to pasta during last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain.

    While pasta cooks, combine vinegars, oil, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pasta mixture, arugula, and remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 403 (26% from fat)Fat: 11.6g (sat 5.7g,mono 4.4g,poly 0.6g) Protein: 21.7gCarbohydrate: 52.4gFiber: 7.9gCholesterol: 50mgIron: 1.9mgSodium: 725mgCalcium: 415mg
    Three-Bean Chili

    Purchase corn muffins from the supermarket to round out your dinner.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups chili and 1 tablespoon sour cream)

    Ingredients
    • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
    • 1  cup  prechopped onion
    • 1/2  cup  prechopped green bell pepper
    • 2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
    • 3/4  cup  water
    • 2  tablespoons  tomato paste
    • 2  teaspoons  chili powder
    • 2  teaspoons  ground cumin
    • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1  (14 1/2-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
    • 1  (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1  tablespoon  yellow cornmeal
    • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
    • 6  tablespoons  reduced-fat sour cream
    Preparation

    Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup water and next 9 ingredients (through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in cornmeal; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Serve with sour cream.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 180 (25% from fat)Fat: 4.9g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.3g) Protein: 8.4gCarbohydrate: 29.5gFiber: 8.6gCholesterol: 5mgIron: 2.3mgSodium: 714mgCalcium: 86mg

    Falafel with Avocado Spread

    Best Vegetarian Entrée. Our first column devoted to vegetarian cooking debuted in the January/February 1995 issue. Since then, we've included hundreds of meatless dishes. The beauty of this Latin twist on the classic Middle Eastern sandwich is its simplicity, and of course, flavor. Garnish with microgreens and sliced red onion. --Recipe by Ann Taylor Pittman (August 2005)

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed pita half)

    Ingredients
    • Patties:
    • 1  (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1/4  cup  finely crushed baked tortilla chips (about 3/4 ounce)
    • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped green onions
    • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped cilantro
    • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cumin
    • 1  large egg white
    • 1 1/2  teaspoons  canola oil

    • Spread:
    • 1/4  cup  mashed peeled avocado
    • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped tomato
    • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped red onion
    • 2  tablespoons  fat-free sour cream
    • 1  teaspoon  fresh lime juice
    • 1/8  teaspoon  salt

    • Remaining ingredients:
    • 2  (6-inch) pitas, each cut in half crosswise
    • 4  thin red onion slices, separated into rings
    • Microgreens
    Preparation

    To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Shape bean mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.

    To prepare spread, combine avocado and next 5 ingredients (through salt), stirring well. Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half; top with onions and greens.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 281 (30% from fat)Fat: 9.5g (sat 3.4g,mono 3.9g,poly 1.5g) Protein: 12.2gCarbohydrate: 37.4gFiber: 5.9gCholesterol: 13mgIron: 2.4mgSodium: 625mgCalcium: 188mg

    Chili-Glazed Tofu over Asparagus and Rice

    Cooking the rice and asparagus in the same pot of boiling water saves a little time.

    Yield: 3 servings (serving size: 3 tofu pieces and 1 1/3 cups rice mixture)

    Ingredients
    • 4  cups water
    • 1  (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
    • 2 1/4  cups  chopped asparagus (about 1 pound)
    • 1  tablespoon  peanut oil
    • 1  tablespoon  sugar
    • 2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
    • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1  teaspoon  bottled minced ginger
    • 1  teaspoon  hot chili sauce with garlic (such as KA·ME)
    • 1  pound  extrafirm tofu, drained and cut lengthwise into 9 pieces
    • 1  teaspoon  salt, divided
    • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 3/4  cup  preshredded carrot
    • 1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil
    Preparation

    Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add bag of rice, submerging bag completely in water. Boil 10 minutes. Carefully remove bag from pan, leaving boiling water in pan. Add asparagus to pan; cook 1 minute. Drain.

    While rice cooks, heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and chili sauce in a small bowl. Sprinkle tofu with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add tofu to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Combine rice, asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon salt, carrot, and sesame oil. Serve tofu over rice.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 296 (26% from fat)Fat: 8.4g (sat 1.1g,mono 2.8g,poly 2.3g) Protein: 15.7gCarbohydrate: 41gFiber: 4.9gCholesterol: 0.0mgIron: 3.7mgSodium: 913mgCalcium: 126mg

    Italian Eggs over Spinach and Polenta

    This breakfast is good any time of day. Look for the polenta in the refrigerated produce section.

    Yield: 4 servings

    Ingredients
    • 1  (16-ounce) tube of polenta, cut into 12 slices
    • Cooking spray
    • 2  cups  fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
    • 1  (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
    • 4  large eggs
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
    Preparation

    Preheat broiler.

    Arrange polenta slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of polenta with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

    While polenta heats, bring sauce to a simmer in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in spinach; cover and cook for 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Stir to combine. Make 4 indentations in top of spinach mixture using the back of a wooden spoon. Break 1 egg into each indentation. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until eggs are desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with cheese. Place 3 polenta slices on each of 4 plates; top each serving with one-fourth of spinach mixture and 1 egg.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 264 (30% from fat)Fat: 8.8g (sat 4g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.9g) Protein: 15.4gCarbohydrate: 29.4gFiber: 2.9gCholesterol: 224mgIron: 3.2mgSodium: 780mgCalcium: 238mg

    Corn and Summer Vegetable Sauté

    Use parsley or chives in place of cilantro, if you prefer. Garnish with chives.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

    Ingredients
    • 1  tablespoon  canola oil
    • 1/2  cup  chopped green onions (about 4)
    • 1  garlic clove, minced
    • 1  cup  sliced fresh okra (about 4 ounces)
    • 1  cup  chopped red bell pepper (about 1)
    • 1  finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
    • 1  cup  fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
    • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/3  cup  minced fresh cilantro
    • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
    Preparation

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add okra; sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add bell pepper and jalapeño; cook 5 minutes. Add corn; cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans; cook 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro; sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 90 (27% from fat)Fat: 2.7g (sat 0.2g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.9g) Protein: 3.7gCarbohydrate: 15.9gFiber: 4.8gCholesterol: 0.0mgIron: 1.2mgSodium: 232mgCalcium: 43mg

    Double-Bean Burritos

    Serve with your favorite salsa for dipping.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 burrito)

    Ingredients
    • 1  (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice
    • 1  cup  chunky bottled salsa
    • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 6  (10-inch) flour tortillas
    • 6  tablespoons  bean dip (such as Frito Lay)
    • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
    • 1  peeled avocado, cut into 6 slices
    • 12  cilantro sprigs
    • 6  lime wedges (optional)
    Preparation

    Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

    While rice cooks, combine salsa and black beans in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stack tortillas; wrap stack in damp paper towels. Microwave at high 25 seconds or until warm.

    Spread 1 tablespoon bean dip over each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup rice, 1/3 cup black bean mixture, 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 avocado slice, and 2 cilantro sprigs; roll up. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 503 (29% from fat)Fat: 16.4g (sat 4.9g,mono 7.5g,poly 2g) Protein: 16.1gCarbohydrate: 72.9gFiber: 7.7gCholesterol: 18mgIron: 4.1mgSodium: 905mgCalcium: 211mg

    Smoked Mozzarella, Spinach, and Pepper Omelet Sandwiches

    Serve with fresh fruit salad drizzled with berry or vanilla yogurt.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

    Ingredients
    • 2  tablespoons  fat-free milk
    • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
    • 6  large egg whites
    • 3  large eggs
    • Dash of hot pepper sauce
    • Cooking spray
    • 1  cup  finely diced red bell pepper
    • 3/4  cup  prechopped onion
    • 4  sourdough English muffins, split
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
    • 1 1/2  cups  bagged baby spinach leaves
    Preparation

    Preheat broiler.

    Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until combined; set aside.

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper and onion; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium. Pour egg mixture into pan; let egg mixture set slightly. Tilt pan; carefully lift edges of omelet with a spatula to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath cooked portion. Cook 3 minutes. Wrap handle of pan with foil; place pan under broiler. Broil 1 minute or until set and lightly browned.

    Arrange muffin halves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle muffin halves evenly with cheese, and broil 1 minute or until cheese begins to brown.

    Divide omelet into 4 portions; place 1 portion on bottom half of each muffin. Top evenly with spinach leaves; top with remaining muffin halves.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 295 (28% from fat)Fat: 9g (sat 3.6g,mono 1.6g,poly 1.1g) Protein: 19gCarbohydrate: 33.8gFiber: 2.4gCholesterol: 168mgIron: 2.7mgSodium: 686mgCalcium: 173mg
    Corn and Potato Chowder

    Ideal for a weeknight supper, this vegetarian-friendly soup can be made ahead and reheated just before serving. Ladle a bowl alongside a green salad and slice of hearty bread.

    Yield: 4 servings

    Ingredients
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 1/2  cups  prechopped green bell pepper
    • 1  cup  chopped green onions, divided (about 1 bunch)
    • 2  cups  frozen corn kernels
    • 1 1/4  cups  water
    • 1  teaspoon  seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
    • 3/4  teaspoon  dried thyme leaves
    • 1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper
    • 1  pound  baking potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1  cup  half-and-half
    • 1/4  cup  chopped parsley
    • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
    Preparation

    Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper and 3/4 cup green onions, and sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

    Increase heat to high; add corn, water, seafood seasoning, thyme, red pepper, and potatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in half-and-half, chopped parsley, and salt. Place about 1 1/2 cups soup in each of 4 bowls; sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon green onions.

    Nutritional Information Calories: 343 (27% from fat)Fat: 10.2g (sat 6.4g,mono 3.1g,poly 0.5g) Protein: 11.5gCarbohydrate: 53.3gFiber: 7gCholesterol: 41mgIron: 2.5mgSodium: 654mgCalcium: 219mg
    Visibility: Everyone
    Tags:
    Posted: Feb 1, 2010 7:51am

     

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    Tonya B.
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