Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lighter Cooking - a success and a dud

I tried a couple of "light" dishes for dinner last night. The dessert wasn't all that good. I really dislike going to the trouble of making a healthy dessert, and then just wishing I had eaten a yogurt or an apple instead. Such a waste! Oh well. The cupcakes actually looked delish, but...

...weren't even worth the lowly 100 calories that they each had. The cupcake had 4 ingredients... canned pumpkin, chocolate fudge cake mix, sugar-free/calorie-free chocolate instant pudding and water. Bleh. The glaze was a bit better, but that's only because it had powdered sugar and milk in it (it made me want to lick off the good stuff on the cupcakes and toss away the rest). I guess when it comes to dessert, I'd just rather have the real thing. I'll keep trying, but really... eating sweets now and again is the whole reason I find the motivation to exercise.

Don't ask me why I have a photo of the cupcakes that I didn't like, while not having a photo of the dinner that I did like. Hmmm.

For the main dish, I made a light taco casserole. It was actually good (despite the "lightness"), and I would make it again. I got the recipe from, and made a few changes.

Light Taco Casserole Recipe

tortilla chips (I used Baked Tostitos, so they had lower fat)
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
onion powder
garlic powder
3 T. taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 c. shredded fat-free or reduced-fat cheese
other toppings to taste: fat free sour cream, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa

In a large skillet, cook ground beef until browned. Add onion powder and garlic powder -- just a shake of each. Add taco seasoning, and continue stirring and cooking to mix in the seasonings. Add black beans and crushed tomatoes. This is part of where I changed the recipe. The original recipe called for salsa instead of crushed tomatoes, but for whatever reason, I really don't like salsa when it is cooked. The peppers take on a weird taste to me. Weird, I know. So, I substituted crushed tomatoes, and it is perfect since the dish has plenty of taco seasoning to give it that spicy flavor.

Mix well while cooking to thicken and blend all of the ingredients.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with tortilla chips. Gently press down the chips to break into bite-sized pieces. Spread the meat mixture over the chips. Top with cheese.

Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Let individuals add their own toppings once they have scooped the hot meat and cheese mixture out of the pan. Yummy served with additional tortilla chips.

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