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!” 

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.

    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

    Baked Eggs in Ham “Flowers”

    Baked Egg in Ham “Flower”
    Serves 1

    1 ounce shaved ham (2-4 slices)
    1 egg
    Cooking spray

    Preheat oven to 400F
    Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
    Line the tin with ham slices.

    Carefully crack egg into the ham flower.

    Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the egg is set. Remove before it is fully cooked, it will continue to cook for about 3 minutes after removing.

    When done the yolk should be thick and hot, but still fluid.

    I served it on a toasted whole grain English Muffin, topped with a slice of horseradish cheddar and a drizzle of coarse German mustard.


    Nutritional data (as I served it):
    Calories:       373
    Fat:             20.5g
    Sat fat:          9.8g
    Chol:         416mg
    Sodium:    855mg
    Carbs:         14.3g
    Fiber:               2g
    Protein:       31.7g

    Artisan Bread (with less than 10 minutes of work!)

    We are all busy. It’s unfortunate, but true. However, few people are truly too busy to make this bread. It takes less than 5 minutes on day 1, and then less than 5 minutes on day 2 to make this bread. (Of course, additional time is needed for rising and baking, but those happen without you even needed to be in the kitchen.

    It is almost automatic bread. And it is absolutely delicious. Bread this good might be illegal in some jurisdictions!

    My Homemade Artisanal Bread

    Makes 10 slices, each approximately 1.5 ounces.
    My recipe (for 4 one-pound loaves)

    Whisk together:
    3 cups tepid water (95-105F)
    1 tablespoon yeast (any dry yeast)
    1 tablespoon salt (any type)

    Stir in 6.5 cups of flour. Any flour works, but 100% whole wheat is a challenge. Mixing white with whole wheat and/or rye work well. I usually use at 4 cups general purpose white with 2.5 cups of whole wheat. As long as you use a total of 6.5 cups of flour, you will end up with bread.

    Stir just until everything is wet and combined. Do not knead–ever. Cover loosely, and let rise on the counter for 2-3 hours (if you forget overnight, don’t worry, it will not ruin the bread.) Place in the refrigerator overnight.

    The next day, cut 1/4 of the dough out. Dust with flour. Working quickly, form the dough into a ball. 

    For the greatest ease, place the formed loaf of a corn-meal dusted pizza peel.
                                                Picture from Amazon. I use this exact Pizza Peel

    Let the dough rise for 40 minutes. These make free-form round loaves, not rectangles.  Do not bake in traditional bread pans.

    Preheat oven and baking stone to 450. Boil 2 cups of water, and pour into an oven safe dish and place in the oven while pre-heating. (The water creates steam to help develop a very crunchy crust. It will work without the steam, but the crust isn’t as nice.)

    When the dough has risen, make several shallow cuts in the surface of the dough. Sprinkle corn meal on baking stone and place dough on the corn meal. Bake for 35 minutes.

    The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 14 days and as it ages, the flavor develops into more of a sour dough character. When the last of the dough is used, do not wash the container. Immediately refill with the ingredients for more bread (this will quickly develop that wonderful sour dough flavor.

    Nutritional Data:
    Calories:         66
    Fat:                0.4g
    Sat fat:           0.1g
    Chol:              0mg
    Sodium:  117.2mg
    Carbs:          14.2g
    Fiber:             2.4g
    Protein:          2.7g

    Finding simple ways to enjoy life, and yet stick to both a financial and calories budgets are common themes on my Make Your Someday Today podcast, We all want the best of all possible options. When you take a little time to make your own, you get the best results.

    Baked Eggs in Potato Cups

    Baked Eggs in Potato Cups
    Serve 2

    This is a great way to use a leftover baked potato. If you don’t have any left, you can easily microwave a potato in about 5 minutes, while getting your morning coffee ready.

    1 large potato
    2 eggs
    1 slice of cheese
    salt and pepper as needed
    Sriracha sauce (or your preference)

    Preheat oven to 450F
    Cut baked potato in half the long way.
    Scoop out most of the potato, leaving less than a 1/4 inch of potato.

    Season with salt and pepper (if needed).
    Crack an egg into the potato cup. You may not have room for all of the white (depends on the size of the potato.
    Place 1/2 slice of cheese over egg.
    Bake for 8-12 minutes (8 will be very soft-cooked and 12 minutes will be fully hard cooked.)
    Drizzle with Sriracha and let cool for a couple minutes.

      Nutritional data (approximate, as different sized potatoes, scooped out more or less will change this):
      Calories:            187
      Fat:                   8.9g
      Sat fat:              3.9g
      Chol:          199.5mg
      Sodium:       93.3mg
      Carb:               15.4g
      Fiber:                1.4g
      Protein:           11.4g

      Tuna Tacos

      Tuna Tacos

      1-2 tuna steak, 10-12 ounce each, approximately 1 inch thick
      The juice of 1 lime
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      Chili spices

      • Combine juice and spices in a shallow dish.  
      • Lay the tuna steak on the sauce. 
      • After 10 minutes, flip over.
      • Prepare a non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
      • When hot, spray with cooking spray. 
      • Remove steak, blot dry, and place in skillet. 
      • Turn after 1-2 minutes.
      • Steak is done in another 1-2 minutes. Properly cooked, it should be deep pink to red in the center.
      • Slice it into ¼ slices.

      • Assemble with your preferred ingredients (lettuce and tomato, onion and cilantro, or with a Cabbage/Lime/Jalapeno slaw.)
      Nutritional data will depend on your specific ingredients and how much of each you add to the tacos. Those are choices you will make for you and your family.
      Choices are a common theme on my Make Your Someday Today podcast, because we all make choices every day, all the time. Who we become is a recult of our choices. Who do you want to become?

      Cabbage, Lime and Jalapeno Slaw

      Cabbage, Lime and Jalapeno Slaw
      Approximately 10 portions, 1/2 cup each

      This recipe combines all the great food experiences. It has the creaminess of the sour cream, the tang of fresh lime juice and lime zest, and the heat of the jalapeno. And you can pump the heat up by using a habanero instead of jalapeno, or adding Sriracha for another layer of flavor. It is a perfect paring with seafood, especially a meaty fish like tuna, or with smoky BBQed pork ribs, or a battered and fried chicken. Such delicious foods, such a versatile side dish!

      ½ cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
      2 tablespoon mayo
      The juice of one lime
      The zest of one lime
      1 bag of pre-shredded cabbage (9-12 ounces by weight)
      1-2 fresh jalapeno, minced
      4-6 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
      Salt and pepper to taste

      1. Mix together first four ingredients
      2. Mix in the cabbage, onion and jalapenos
      3. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
      4. This is better if you make it one day in advance.

      Nutritional data:
      Calories:       29
      Fat:               1.4g
      Sat fat:          0.8g
      Chol:         4.2mg
      Sodium:   15.1mg
      Carbs:           3.6g
      Fiber:            1.1g
      Protein:         0.9g
      My Make Your Someday Today podcast is committed to helping people achieve success, in any goal: weight loss, physical fitness, business, happiness. Part of that is finding good foods that will support your health, reduce your workload, and still taste delicious!

      Soft Shell Shrimp Tacos

      Soft Shell Shrimp Tacos

      Remember that Red Hot Relish from a couple days ago? Here is a fantastic use for it. I sauteed some shrimp, warmed some soft flour tortillas, and added fresh cilantro and avocado. (Of course, you could use this relish on a pork, chicken or beef taco, too!)

      BOOM! A very simple dinner that is healthy and delicious!

      (Nutritional data will vary with the tortillas, how much avocado is used and if you add anything else.)

      Life is easier when you can combine simple, healthy and delicious. You are more likely to make good decisions when you don’t have to sacrifice one of those characteristics. Planning, prioritization and presentations are key topics in my podcast Make Your Someday Today, where I talk to successful people about how they achieved success and how you can do it, too!

      Baked Cod, Garlic Sauteed Spinach and Baked Fries

      Baked Cod with Garlic Spinach and Baked Fries

      This is an easy meal, that will be ready to eat about 45 minutes after you put the potatoes in the oven. Meals like this are healthy, easy, inexpensive (especially if you buy frozen fish when it is on sale) and are convenient as the potatoes and fish cook at the same temp, at the same time. Using bagged baby spinach makes this quick. Just don’t use pre-chopped garlic from a jar. That tends to be old and bitter.

      We talk about planning ahead and making good choices like this on my Make Your Someday Today podcast. When you take the little time to make plans in advance, you are able to save more time, live healtier, lose weight and save money! What a great combination!

      You can make this with any white fish (cod, haddock, pollack, flounder are all good choices.) In general, place the fresh (or thawed) fish in an oven safe pan, drizzle a hint of olive and then sprinkle dill, salt and pepper as needed. (Garlic or onion powder are also good options. Another excellent option is Penzey’s Sunny Spain.) Bake at 450 for 8-12 minutes, dependingon thickness of the fillets. The fish is done when it begins to flake it you lift an edge with a knife.

      Garlicky Sauteed Spinach
      Serves 2-4, depending on how much everyone likes spinach.  In our case, this made three servings.
      15 ounces baby spinach  
      1 tablespoon olive oil
      6 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
      1. Prepare all ingredients, but don’t start cooking this until the fish and potatoes are done. This only takes about 4 minutes once the pan is hot.
      2. Heat your non-stick skillet (large, 11-12 inches).  Add olive oil.
      3. Add garlic, stir until it begins to brown (1-2 minutes.)
      4. Add half the spinach, tossing frequently for 1 minute. It will begin to wilt.
      5. Add remaining spinach, tossing constantly until the spinach is uniformly wilted (another 60-90 seconds.)  
      6. Serve immediately.

      Nutritional data:
      Calories:       83
      Fat:             5.3g
      Sat fat:        0.8g
      Chol:           0mg
      Sodium:   119mg
      Carbs:         7.4g
      Fiber:          3.4g

      Protein:       4.7g
      Baked Fries
      Serves 4
      2 large Russet (baking) potatoes
      2 tablespoons oil
      Salt and pepper
      1. Preheat oven to 450F
      2. Wash  potatoes.
      3. With skins on, cut potatoes into 1/2″ thick fries.
      4. Place in bowl. Drizzle oil, toss and season as desired.
      5. Place on baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Turn and toss every 15 minutes.
      6. After 30 minutes, place the pan with fish in the oven. The fish and fries will finish at about the same time. 
      7. When the fish is done, remove from oven and cover with foil to keep warm. Do not cover the fries or they with steam and get soft/soggy. When done, they should be brown and crisp.

      Calories:     205
      Fat:             7.2g
      Sat fat:        1.0g
      Chol:           0mg
      Sodium:  20.9mg
      Carbs:       32.1g
      Fiber:          3.4g
      Protein:       3.9g
      My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen!