BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad
Serves Approximately 16 (one cup portions)

1 pound shell pasta
8 slices of thick-cut bacon (ideally, low sodium)
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
5 ounces fresh arugala
1 bunch green onions, sliced, greens and whites

  1. Bring a large kettle to a boil. Salt the water. When boiling, add the pasta and cook until “al dente”, 8-10 minutes.
  2. While the pasta boils, fry bacon until crispy. Chop and set aside. 
  3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease.
  4. Return the skilletto stove over medium heat. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes begin to soften (2 minutes.)
  5. Drain the pasta, saving 2 cups of the pasta water.
  6. Return the hot pasta back to the kettle. 
  7. Add the arugala and stir gently.
  8. Add the tomatoes and garlic, the green onion and one cup of the reserved water. Stir to mix.
  9. Top with bacon, and more pasta water if you think it needs it. 
  10. This can be served warm or cold.

Nutritional data for one cup:

Calories:         103
Fat:                 2.3g
Sat fat:            0.6g
Chol:              3.8g
Sodium:        47.9g
Carbs:           17.2g
Fiber:              1.3g
Protein:           4.4g

You can increase the health benefits by using a high fiber pasta, but Tammy and I don’t eat pasta that often and we simply prefer the “regular” white pasta.

Don’t forget to listen to my podcast, Make Your Someday Today! It is a motivational and weight loss podcast, featuring interviews with musicians, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and weight loss success stories from around the world. I also answer listener questions, and beginning with Episode 49, I give my “Recipe of the Week!” 

Pan Seared Chicken, Roasted with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives

Pan Seared Chicken, Roasted with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skin-on, but excess trimmed
2-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 onion, diced
1-2 pounds cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup green olives, halved. (I used Mezzetta Garlic Stuffed Olives)
Herbs of your choice (I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset.)
2 ounces Marsala wine (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F.
Using a 12 inch, oven-safe skillet, preheat over medium high. Add the oil.
Season the chicken, both sides, with your spices, and salt/pepper if desired.
When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully lay the chicken in the skillet, skin-side down. Let the the skin get browned. Do not turn them, or even move them to get the best results. This will take 6-7 minutes.
While the chicken thighs sear and brown, slice the garlic, dice the onion, and halve the tomatoes and olives.
After 6-7 minutes, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

With all cooking juices still in the skillet, add the garlic and onion, then the tomatoes and olives.

Carefully return the chicken to skillet, skin side up.

Pour the wine into the skillet (if you are using this.)
Place skillet in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or when the internal temperature of the chicken is 165F.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional data for one thigh and 1/6 of the tomato/olives:
Calories:          286
Fat:                 11.8g
Sat fat:              1.5g
Chol:               65mg
Sodium:     356.2mg
Carbs:             22.3g
Fiber:                2.9g
Protein:             26g

You could certainly serve this on a pasta, such as angel hair or linguini.

Don’t forget to listen to my podcast, Make Your Someday Today! It is a motivational podcast, featuring interviews with musicians, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and weight loss success stories from around the world. I also answer listener questions, and beginning with Episode 49, I give my “Recipe of the Week!”

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Fresh Figs

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Fresh Figs
Serves 4

4 fresh figs
2 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto (approximately 8 slices)

Wrap each fig with the prosciutto, and secure with toothpicks. (If you can’t find prosciutto, you could try very thinly sliced bacon.)

Preheat your grill on high for 5 minutes.
Place the figs on the grate. Turn often so that all side cook, but not become burned.
Serve warm.

    So easy. So elegant. The grill intensifies the sugars, and makes the fig softer, but not mushy. The prosciutto adds a velvety texture from the fat as it melts into the fig, and the meat is lightly smokey. The contrast between sweet and savory is wonderful.
    Make these while you can still find fresh figs!

    Nutritional data (per fig):
    Calories:         67
    Fat:                 1.7g
    Sat fat:            0.5g
    Chol:         12.5mg
    Sodium:  230.5mg
    Carbs:            9.6g
    Fiber:             1.5g
    Protein:          4.4g
    These would be incredible as a starter or a dessert. I think that since this is a sweet and slightly fatty dish, a semi-dry sparkling wine (possible a Moscato d’Asti) would be a nice match.

    Walt Disney and John Wayne Give Great Advice

    “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney
    I remember when I needed to wear size 3XL scrubs. I was miserable, but I had given up. I assumed I was just destined to be fat. And it was embarrassing to work in an ER and be nearly 300 pounds. I wanted to weigh less, but I was afraid to try, because I was afraid to fail. Again. I dreamt of being “near normal”, of wearing clothes that did not come from a “Big and Tall” section of the store.
    When I finally made the decision, my wife and I started a “diet”. We lost weight, for a while, and then we predictably put it back on. Finally, in May 2011, I decided that enough was enough and started using LoseItand she started using Weight Watchers. We both realized that if we didn’t take action—now—things would only get worse, until very bad things began to happen.
    We were both committed to our goal, and yet we were both scared. We were worried about what our friends and relatives would say, but the compliments and the sharp little attacks, such as, “Oh, so you’re trying to lose weight again, hm? What makes you think it will work this time?”
    We were afraid of failing.
    We didn’t stop. We lost weight. We donated clothes as soon as the no longer fit. We have supported our local Goodwills with all our donated clothes (and we shop there, too.) We got more active. I started walking and discovered that I enjoy it. I bought a Fitbit. My wife got active with DVD exercise routines and yoga.
    And the losses continued. We continued to be afraid of failing, of reverting back to our old habits. We developed a habit of planning a week’s worth of meals, and buying only what we need for the meals. We got into the habit of walking our dog once or twice a day. We started parking as far from the entrance to stores as possible and getting extra walking. I stopped using elevators.
    We continued have successes and we continued to be fearful of this being only temporary. We solidified our habits, sort of making them institutionalized. We developed a grocery shopping list that I have on my computer to make shopping more efficient. We have our weekend routine of hitting various thrift stores together. We eat meals together when my teaching/clinical schedule allows it, sitting at the dinner table, not in front of the TV. We get up early in the morning to walk and workout. We eat a hearty breakfast and I prepare every day. I pack our lunches and snacks for the day.
    We stopped feeling “fear” about slipping back. We were too focused on our plan to have time to worry. We just kept on doing what was working. Life became routine. Weighing and measuring food was normal. The losses continued.
    And then I hit my goal. To reinforce my commitment, I tattooed a phrase on my right wrist, forever reminding me to never quit. (An explanation of the phrase can be found in a blog post from January 19, 2012.)My wife continued to lose weight. Fear of failure subsided, but was replaced by eternal vigilance. And the fear of regaining. I continued to weigh/measure my food, and log everything. I still do, and plan to continue until the day arrives where I am unable to care for myself.
    My wife’s losses have eclipsed my own. Her success has been remarkable and serves as my inspiration. She is my hero. My maintenance for 16+ months serves as her inspiration, as validation that successes can be realized. She calls me her hero.
    We started this journey out of fear. We feared what could—no, what would—happen if we left our habits and practices continue unchecked. In the ER, I cared for people who had heart attacks and strokes. Diabetes and high blood pressure were common conditions. I was afraid of that. Moreover, I was afraid that when I had my heart attack—not if, but when—I would be that patient who required a “team boost” because I was too heavy for two people to move in the bed. I was ashamed of myself in advance.
    Fear propelled us into action, and helped to keep us on track. Our fear of failure was great. It was not great enough to prevent us from quitting, but it was great enough to serve as a light whip at our backs.  We used it to motivate us, not to cripple our efforts.
    Our dreams are coming true, because we were not too afraid to act. We had the courage to succeed. As David Joseph Schwartz said, “Do what you fear and fear disappears.”
    John Wayne said it even better: “Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”

    Note: the links to LoseIt and Fitbit are my affiliate links. That means if you click on those and buy one (or both) I will receive a small commission. It does not change your cost at all, but it will help me continue to provide recipes and advice here and in my podcast Make Your Someday Today

    MYST 48 Tony Sherman: Learn How Success Brought Failure, and then Greater Success!

    Tony Sherman
    Tony Sherman

    Tony’s hosts the Impact Teams Radio podcast. Here are links to the show and website:

    Tony recommends:

    Talent is Never Enough, by John Maxwell   

    Also, he suggests using a Kindle for ease of transportation, the ability to bring your entire library and that it can read your books to you.

    Tony referenced an earlier show, Episode 42, with brewer Brad Stillmank of Stillmank Brewing, when I asked him the secret to success.


    Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of

    Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods.

    He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog.

    Links within these show notes may be Affiliate links, meaning that I may receive a small commission when readers click on them and then purchase something. This does not increase your cost at all, but it does help me cover some of the cost associated with this podcast. Thanks!


    By the way, Tony’s Dragon Naturally Speaking program turned on during the interview and recorded part of the interview. As a transcription service, Naturally Speaking is lacking–at least when it is not being correctly used. (I know, I know. Tony wasn’t wearing his headset, and wasn’t talking directly to the system. In reality, it is a very good program. I’ve used it in the past.)

        Here is what his program thought he was saying:

    “Or you you were starting approach every (because I have and there is a is is there is a slot in the satellite is is is is okay but sometimes I just need to write down and so is is is in you and is in you and is a very simple form and is the sound I hear an American system on one of these are noisy laid off country is the media and the rest of the culture actions are the exception of when you have the culture we will see people I like so is is a colossal policy with the person you are you are so small you shouldn’t worry what is happening but if you looking for America where most of us spend our very sexual people cracked the code’s success in designing the only world’s and my address is in you through the words the world where saying a word is writing as they were very sexual people cracked the code success in designing the only reason the last of I showed you the unfortunately and I is my way to the authors yes you are craving to you so I moved over to you as you will safety – Phoenix Suns are is is a you when you sit around talking and just know is an island, my favorite color carries one of the tricks is a great places to buy a reasonable price is you are so is there is still you don’t get 80 and guide you as you are in my you and I would actually say jelly babies if I was as a unless it’s easy to his family that in the person and you are also evasive so in English
    as we scary and then you will jelly
    the is you and your sense of you have a concentrated in first is shared
    ß and you hours ago 92 related colors and slayer and she’s a complementary flagrant and then the second to last a is customer information previously you that with sometimes but on the sometimes not have a video and see what happens you will agree that this is not American dream is whipping cream and are and you take along things to try to get a single layer you don’t see you there is you and as soon as your stomach takes the more you try and become an America where you are it is designed for since I is. And so they have violated ACA and you go out and try another thing we did which is very secretive family which you’ve always like you hand in hand for you is the left a smorgasbord of the a as you write as he is the first time you and you are and what I and you are you citing that will make you as we do business and in the next and how they 77 Canada is a you and you the conversation goes on and zero hours and is great as long as great as always reversible and he is really my alarm Rahmani and so you try and is in you which you and you never see greenhouse and the oldest of the surfactant say in this for improving this living room is a very different and right is is is, is exerting cultures separated by common language and some will say is in the sense you cut-and-paste is that you will you is is is is you you say something is there anything they exactly will rumor was a big reputation in the is is being you industry is set to ministry I really hope he succeeds well because I is the huge price you I just paying her face is actually so what is a node is in the and I are you are a subgrade you know it’s not me a result of you I do I give you a so yeah I’d love to me is is is not one you hurry and he is is a very these eco-friendly and contain any that you do is we still have a lot of growing set of anything else to what you and you and their colonies in staff is just a I and you and you I would love to what you do you yeah I is for a resource. I’m an easy is arguing the case is a loving and I bet you’re as good as you listen to you will do is ask myself for that is the summary is a leader in and still you and you and a lot of American culture is as you want to leave you alone to succeed in as you so what I do they knew the keys in their success you in Malaysia are you the leadership in island so as to you a compilation three is like a game we love the classic leadership everywhere he is a you had one listener you or someone you was still there. I is you are you thank you so much as it is fun to have I always read the one you are aware and Windows are you a you and I think you will you as you are exactly I was a John is relying on my ID and you and you realize that I stopped it was you okay so I is you is is I stopped reading books and now I’m almost an now is to do that is is is is is an is only partly because of who I am as you are you are just teaching was found that what happens is named a member of you remember the story and and I think about stuff I’ve learned the most of the whole you as you will store you as a you have a story and I is you will say don’t tell me this is a really good principle family and they tell the story and is and is and time zones outside feedback is as you stories of how to you and your knife another (you prehistoric d he said he and you and I I got a hairy ones have”
    If you can interpret that, I am impressed!


    Beer Battered Tilapia, with White Tartar

    This was one of my entries into the 2014 Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest.

    Beer Battered Tilapia, with White Tartar
    Serves 4

    4 Kaiser rolls (or other large roll)
    Beer Batter (or any other fish batter, your preference)
    Enough cooking oil to fill a pot to 3-4 inches
    4 tilapia fillets, 3 ounces each (or any mild-flavored fish)
    Beer Batter
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 egg, beaten.
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    ½ teaspoon cayenne powder

    12-24 ounces of beer (Do not use a very hoppy beer, like an IPA. Use a British Mild, like Boddington.)
    1. Combined the first four ingredients.
    2. Mix in egg.
    3. Slowly add the beer while stirring to prevent lumps. This should be a thin batter. You may only need 12 ounce, but 16 is more likely. When you dip the fish into it, you should still be able to see the fish through the thin layer of batter. (If you have extra, drink it!)
    4. Heat oil to 375F (using a thermometer is recommended.
    5. Dry the fish fillets.
    6. Mix all ingredients for the red tartar while waiting for the oil to get to temperature. (The sauce can be made a day in advance for better flavor.)
    7. When the oil is hot, dip the fillets into the batter, and carefully lower into the oil. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may only be able to fry one fillet at a time.
    8. When the fish is beginning to brown, carefully turn it over.  Total cook time will be 6-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the oil and fish.
    9. While the fish is frying, prepare the bun. Toast the cut surface.
    10. Lay lettuce on the bottom. When the fish is done, and drained, lay on the lettuce and top with 1 tablespoon red tartar.

    When I make this, I use the remaining batter by dipping Mezzetta Roasted Red Bell Pepper and then frying them until golden brown.

    I’m not giving nutritional data for the sandwich. It will change if you use a different fish, make your batter thin or thick, fry it darker, use a different roll….the variability will change everything. 

    White Tartar
    2 Tablespoon Miracle Whip salad dressing
    1 tablespoon Mezzetta Capers
    2 Mezzetta Sweet Banana Wax Peppers, sliced

    ½ ounce (4 pieces) Mezzetta Cocktail Onions, chopped
    1. Mix all ongredients together and chill. Making this a day in advance is recommended for best flavor.
    Nutritional Data (per tablespoon)
    Calories:         32
    Fat:                2.4g
    Sat fat:           0.1g
    Chol:              0mg
    Sodium:  388.8mg
    Carbs:            2.2g
    Fiber:             0.1g
    Protein:          0.1g

    Pulled Pork Chili

    Pulled Pork Chili
    Serves 10 (1 cup portions)

    This morning I woke to 45F temperatures. To me, that means chili season. But some chili can be high fat, and some high sodium. This is neither, just high flavor. This is one of those little life hacks that I talk about on one my Make Your Someday Today Trevitorials. Make good food and eat it. When you make it yourself, you know what is in it!

    In a large (3-4 quart kettle) add:
    1/2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 large onion, diced
    2-4 cloves garlic, minced
    Add your preferred chili spices

    Sautee that together until the onions begin to get translucent (5 minutes)
    1 tablespoon tomato paste. Stir to mix together, then add:
    2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained, and low sodium if available
    2 cans beans, drained and rinsed
    1 pound pulled pork

    Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. After 30-40 minutes, taste and add more seasoning as needed. This is better if you can then chill it for a few hours or overnight.

    So, why is the beer in the picture? I make my beans with a pressure cooker. I use 1 cup dried beans (here is a mix of white navy beans and black bean), one onion diced, 2-4 cloves garlic minced and 4 cups beer. This is one of my favorites, Green Bay’s own Wisco Disco. Put the lid on, set to high pressure and leave them cook for 45 minutes. When it is time to add the beans to the tomatoes, I dump everything in, beans, beer, onion and garlic.

    Nutritional data:
    Calories:         210
    Fat:                  5.4g
    Sat fat:             1.7g
    Chol:           38.5mg
    Sodium:      32.7mg
    Carbs:            18.2g
    Fiber:               4.6g
    Protein:            19g

    MYST 47 Trevitorial: Building Success, and Simple Diet Hacks

    Success begets success.


    Amy Robles
    Amy Robles

    Amy, like many people, had a large amount of debt. But with the guidance of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, she and her Navy husband were able to pay off $25,000 in just six months, using effective and proven techniques. Her blog, Woman Enriched, helps other people find ways to save money and increase their personal peace and happiness.  And on September 16, 2014, Amy will launch her next platform for change: her podcast, The Family Knot. Designed primarily to help other military families, it will give greater attention to the special challenges that are faced by the military members and the families who support them.

    In last week’s MYST Trevitorial, Neil, one of the hosts of the Warp Ten podcast, asked about how to eat healthy while enduring off shifts at work. This week, Dave Westwood, creator and host of the New and Noteworthy podcast, expands that to ask how to eat healthy when driving on the job, or when trapped in your cubicle.

    (Note: Dave interviewed me for his podcast, which was released as his fifth episode. If you want to hear my story, and Dave excellent interview style, you can hear it here. Also, after you listen to the New and Noteworthy show or the Family Knot, show the hosts some podcast-love and go to iTunes and leave a rating and review.)

    I give some concrete advice and diet hacks to help anyone stay on track. If you are like Dave, Neil, myself, or any of the 60% people in the USA who are struggling with weight management, you need to listen to these ideas.

    I also gave Dave–and all of you–and assignment. If you want to learn more simple and effective diet hacks, you need to read the book “Mindless Eating” by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. The book is very easy and fun to read. It explains why we eat the way we do, how our brains trick us into eating too much and how we can turn the tables (pun intended) on our brain and trick it into being satisfied with the correct amount of food.

    He has two books. Total disclaimer: these links to Amazon are my affiliate links. When you go there and buy one or both of these books, I will receive a smalle commission, which will not increase your price, but it will help me keep this show running.

    This is the book I read:    And now he also has this one:   


    Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of

    Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods.

    He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog.

    Chicken Pot Pie

    Chicken Pot Pie
    Serve 6 (8 ounces per portion)

    1 tsp olive oil
    1/2 cup onion, diced
    2-4 cloves garlic, minced
    12 ounces cooked boneless/skinless chicken, diced
    1 can (approximately 12 ounces) cream of chicken soup (you can also use cream of celery or mushroom)
    1/2 cup wine (your choice, I used a sweet Marsala for this)
    12 ounces frozen mixes vegetables, thawed
    1 prepared pie cust (homemade or store bought)

    Preheat oven to 400F.
    Heat large non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
    Add oil, onion and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
    Add diced chicken. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
    Add soup and wine. Mix together.
    Add vegetable. Reduce heat and let it simmer. Everything should be hot when you out this in the oven.
    Spray a 9″ round baker (or 8X8 square) with cooking spray.
    When the oven is ready, pour chicken/veggie mixture into dish.

    Carefully lay pie crust over the top. Trim edges. Cut two slits into the crust, to allow steam to escape.

    Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the crust browns.

    Serve immediately, or the next day.
    Nutritional data:
    Calories:         305
    Fat:                 11.1g
    Sat fat:              3.1g
    Chol:            62.6mg
    Sodium:     269.1mg
    Carbs:             13.3g
    Fiber:                1.5g
    Protein:           11.9g

    Pulled Pork Meets South Florida

    This was one of my entries into the 2014 Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest.

    Sandwiches are fun! A complete meal you eat while holding it. And mashing to regions into one sandwich is tasty. Pulled pork (which I first had while traveling through Tennessee, where my friend Chester lives and teaches) meets South Florida breads (where you can also find Leah and her digital magazine, Just Jew It) in this example.

    Pulled Pork Meet South Florida
    Serves 1

    1 Miami onion roll (you can substitutes another roll if you want.)
    4 ounces pulled pork (I used Curley’s Sauceless Pulled Pork for the contest.)
    1 ounce Mezzetta’s Roasted Red Bell Peppers
    1/8 cup (1/2 ounce) Mezzetta Deli-Sliced Mild Pepper Rings

    1 tablespoon Mezzetta Olive Oil
    1. Slice roll. Toast if desired (I prefer my rolls toasted)
    2. Warm meat until hot (less than 1 minute in a microwave.)
    3. Place Roasted Red Bell Peppers on bottom half on roll.
    4. Top with meat.
    5. Top with Mild Pepper Rings.
    6. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
    I’m not giving nutritional data for the sandwich. It will change if you use a different type of pulled pork, or use different roll….the variability will change everything.