Quick Fix Low Pix: Lighter Side Banana Pudding

I love banana pudding, as any good southern woman should. I remember my grandmother had this special dish (a large ceramic pot) that was just for banana pudding. she’d line the sides and bottom with wafers, then pour in the pudding and bananas and put meringue on top and bake it in the oven. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of meringue. I can tolerate it on my grandmother’s chocolate pie but it belongs there. So when I started to make my own banana pudding I wanted something that was a bit different. I came across Paula Deen’s recipe and decided to alter it a bit for those of us who don’t need so much sugar or fat in our lives. This is my creation. It’s pretty simple and since I was in a hurry today I decided not to take step by step photos but just show you the completed version.

healthy banana pudding recipe

Lighter Side Banana Pudding
Ingredients

6 small(ish) bananas, sliced
1 Box Reduced Fat Vanilla Wafers
2 Boxes sugar free instant vanilla pudding
3 cups skim milk or coconut/almond milk (I prefer coconut milk for this)
1 brick fat free cream cheese, softened
1 can fat free condensed sweetened milk
1 tub light cool whip

This is literally so simple. Line the bottom of a rectangle casserole dish (like the one pictured) with vanilla wafers. The OCD in me makes sure the flat surfaces are all on the bottom so it looks pretty even on the bottom side. After that, top the vanilla wafers with the sliced bananas. You can use less (and the original recipe does) but I like a healthy amount of fruit in my pudding so there you go. Set that aside and it’s time to assemble the pudding.

I use two bowls and a mixer for this, with a silicone spatula as my best friend. In the first bowl I combine the pudding and milk, then beat it on high for about two minutes. After that, set it aside and work on the second bowl. It’s best to use a pretty big one because you’ll need the room – trust me. In the second bowl cream together the condensed sweetened milk and the brick of cream cheese. The softer the cream cheese, the easier your time will be. Once it’s fully blended you’re done with the mixer. Fold in the cool whip using your best friend the spatula, and when it’s mixed well transfer the pudding over in and fold, fold fold. Once it’s thoroughly mixed, pour it over the bananas in the dish. It’ll just flow down like ribbons and be delightfully good. When you’re done? I won’t tell if you lick the bowl or the spatula. It’s that good.

After it’s level in the dish all that’s left to do is add another layer of wafers on top. You’ll most likely have some left over but I like to snack on them at random. Hopefully you enjoy this as much as me and mine do! You definitely can’t tell it’s low fat or sugar at all.

Ground Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

So I’ve just found out I was pregnant. The news is happy news, as my husband and I started trying around the first of the year. We’re having a Christmas baby and I’m so excited! I’ve been trying to eat healthy and get plenty of protein and veggies in. I had some mini sweet red and yellow peppers I got from Aldi and figured this would be a great way to use them – boy was I right!

The best thing about this recipe is that the stuffing can be used in burritos or tacos, frozen to have in later peppers if you have a small family (And I’m always cooking for one or two depending on my husband’s work) and if you have a larger family to feed, then just use the entire batch and watch them disappear! I loved everything about these and I hope that you do too.

Ground Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 small onion, chopped
5 large mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
shredded cheddar cheese (approximately 3/4 cup, give or take)
mini sweet peppers, tops removed and centers cut out
(9 for half the batch, 15-18 for full batch)

I cook the quinoa and gut the peppers while I’m working on the filling to save time. in a skillet, I heat the oil over medium high heat and then add in the onions and garlic.

stuffed peppers recipe

Once the onions and peppers have cooked for two minutes, add the ground turkey and cook on high until every bit of the meat is browned.

stuffed peppers recipe

Add the barbecue sauce and quinoa and mix well, then turn the heat off. You’re ready to stuff once your filling looks like this!

stuffed peppers recipe

Here’s an image of how your peppers should look before they get stuffed!

stuffed peppers recipe

Here’s where you preheat the oven to 350. I layered the stuffing like a parfait. I put an amount in the bottom, a little bit of cheese, and then a little more stuffing. Make sure it’s packed in good. I found that a muffin tin makes the perfect holder for these. However, if you are making a full batch they should fit into a pyrex casserole dish. It’s really up to you.

stuffed peppers recipe

Let bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and then put cheese on the top and let it bake for another five minutes, or until cheese is melty and bubbly. When you are done you’ll have the tastiest bite of peppers you could hope for, and if you only made half of it you have plenty left over for other endeavors (or to freeze for another meal!)

stuffed peppers recipe

Country Cottage Pie – A Healthy Take On Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve really got to get better at photographing this stuff. The first few pictures were just steam (lol) so I decided to pitch them. There’ll be more text and less photos at the beginning, so hopefully you don’t care that much. I love shepherd’s pie and well, I wanted to do something to make it a little healthier. So here’s my take on it. You can make your mashed cauliflower any way you like, but I will detail what I do to make it for this recipe. This tastes amazing .. I’ve already gone back for more!

healthy shepherd's pie recipe

Country Cottage Pie
Ingredients
1 head cauliflower, cut cooked and mashed (I mash mine with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup light sour cream)
1 lb ground turkey
6 mini sweet peppers (2 red, 2 yellow, 2 orange), chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small sweet onion, chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, diced
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
2 TBSP flour
1/4 cup water
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup shredded low fat cheese

I prepare my mashed cauliflower first, just so I can set it aside. Well actually I do it while I’m doing the meat and veggies, it’s just easier to put that down first then go onto the rest of the pie. I cut out the florets off a head of cauliflower and boil the heck out of it. Once it’s done, I drain well, add 1/4 cup of grated parmesan and 1/4 cup of light sour cream then mash, baby mash! I like to add some pepper but the parmesan is salty so additional salt shouldn’t be needed.You can prepare them however you like, just make sure it’s a head and it’s mashed. This subs as the mashed potatoes in a real shepherd’s or cottage pie.

Now the bottom layer! Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium high and cook the onions, peppers, garlic, and mushrooms for 3-5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and salt and pepper and turn to high, cooking until everything is done. Add in the worchestershire sauce and stir well. The sauce just adds a bit beefier taste since we are using ground turkey. Sprinkle in the flour and add the water then strip the thyme leaves into the goodness and stir well, cooking until there’s a nice gravy formed.

healthy shepherd's pie recipe

Preheat the oven to 350 and get ready to build! In a casserole dish, put down the meat and veggie mixture. On top of that layer the frozen peas. Give peas a chance.

healthy shepherd's pie recipe

After that? Layer that gorgeous mashed cauliflower on top and sprinkle the cheese. It should look like this beautiful photo below!

healthy shepherd's pie recipe

Then this bad boy is ready for the oven. Bake it at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty. See photo below. Note: You can let it go a little longer if you like browner cheese. This is just to my liking. At this point everything is cooked so it’s just to let flavors meld.

Chicken Tortilla Soup and Bountiful baskets

So now that I’m back in Houston and this is an option, I decided to try out Bountiful Baskets. I definitely recommend it if you are in an area that they service. It’s very inexpensive and the stuff you get – well it’s good quality and quite “bountiful” if you will:

chicken tortilla soup recipe

It’s bi-weekly so I needed to think of a way to cook something good for me and get a lot of the veggies out of the house, especially since I bought the juicing pack and the herb pack too! Celery overload for sure! I had chicken thawed out so I decided soup was it. NOTE: I have seen commercials out for these new Swanson infused broths, and I’d been meaning to maybe try them. However that would’ve meant going to the store and I had regular chicken broth on hand. If you do use the swanson chicken tortilla broth, then of course omit the cumin, cayenne and chili powder. Unless you just like concentrated tastes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 box of chicken broth
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
tortilla strips – either self made or bought

chicken tortilla soup recipe
A power shot of all the ingredients ready to go!

In a large pot or small stock pot, warm the oil on medium high and then add in the chicken, cooking and stirring frequently for a few minutes, until it’s all white on the outside. It’s going to cook more so if it’s not 100% done yet it’s fine. Add the cumin, cayenne and chili powder and stir well. Add the onions, celery, and peppers and cook for a couple more minutes, then add the remaining vegetables. Cook for another minute or two then add liquid and the rosemary. Turn to high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it’s boiled for a few minutes, reduce the heat and let it simmer for a half hour (even longer is fine … all it does is mesh out the flavors). If it’s not as liquid-y as you’d like, then all you need to do is add a little water in. It was fine for me though. Serve immediately with tortilla strips!

chicken tortilla soup
This was like the second bowl, sans strips!

New Changes and New Directions

No, not the Glee group.

See, I started this blog to strictly be for recipes I create and to display wearable art I was selling on ETSY. While I will still do both of these things, I have decided to make a few changes on this blog. My friend at Disasters in Makeup told me I could do anything I wanted and this blog could be anything it wanted to be.

So it’s anything it wants to be now. I had a recent doctor visit. Diagnosed with diabetes, I had to make a lot of changes in my diet. It was long overdue, being Fatty McFatterton anyway. I’m just trying a lot harder now. I’ve been cooking most every night and working on formulating meals that are not only healthy, but taste good. I have a skinny husband that can eat everything and not have him affected in the least. I have a process when I go through trying to make a new recipe for this site. I experiment the first time I make it, and if it works well, then I work it up for the site the next time I make it. So I’ve been doing this for a couple weeks now. Initial tests are good, so I’m going to start posting more healthy, diabetic friendly recipes as I go.

The next change is this: makeup and beauty. I’m a crazy makeup buff. One day I’ll post a picture of my “workstation” so you can see just exactly how many beauty products I actually have. This same doctor visit diagnosed me with rosacea. I’d known I had it for a while but at least now I’m being treated for it. I start my medication today, so I’m going to post a “before” photo. I’m also posting a photo later to show you how much makeup helps deal with rosacea. It’s a terrible affliction, really. My cheeks and nose are super red and splotchy, and not only that but it breaks out, it peels, and it stings. It also itches to high heaven, especially when I wear makeup. So it’s like damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I am pretty good with foundation and concealer though, and look like a normal person when I’m done. Here’s my before! #nofilterlolz


All my red-faced glory

Later today I will post a full makeup covered up photo and talk a bit about my routine. And show you my battle station! Huzzah!